4 May 2020

Has Your Recycling Gone Up in Smoke?

Read Time: 4 mins

Since the beginning of the lockdown, it’s been widely reported that some local authorities have temporarily suspended green bin and garden waste collections in order to prioritise medical waste and food waste collections. But it has since also been revealed that some local authorities have continued to collect household recycling only to then send it to be incinerated.

The Guardian reported that several local councils were burning recycling in response to the enormous domestic waste demand as a result of the coronavirus lockdown and the COVID-19-related staff absences. A recent survey carried out by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (Adept) reported that 250 local councils have experienced losing up to 40% of their waste collection staff due to self-isolation and illness in the last week.

With families being confined to their homes, a third of local authorities reported that domestic refuse has increased in volume by between 20% and 50%. In addition, the mounting pressure on local waste collections has no doubt been exacerbated by the closing of local authority household recycling facilities and tips.

bailed waste

As a result, Cardiff, St Helens and Inverclyde councils have resorted to incinerating recycling as opposed to sorted and transferred for reuse. Oldham, Redbridge and West Dunbartonshire local authorities also reported that they have scaled back their recycling operations for the time being, with a further six authorities temporarily stopping glass and cardboard collections.

Regardless, Cardiff City Council requested that households continue to clean and organise their recyclable items as usual, in the assurance that operations will return to normal as soon as staffing allows. Meanwhile, tips and recycling centres in Greater Manchester reopened this weekend, but are amongst the few in the country, meaning that it will still be some time before recycling operations return to normal and the pressure on waste collection teams is eased.

Speaking to The Guardian, Richard McIlwain, deputy chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy said; “At a time of national crisis, we all have a personal role to play in keeping our environment safe.” He continued; “If you have rubbish you can’t put in your normal bin, either store it until the recycling centres are open or pay for a waste company to take it away, checking first that they are correctly licensed as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency and always ask for a receipt.”

Not only are Clearabee licensed waste carriers and the largest ‘man and van’ rubbish removal service in the UK but we also issue a digital Waste Transfer Note once a collection has been undertaken. This document is a record of the waste which has been collected, including the time it was taken, and the vehicle which was used. We are also able to provide a report of which local waste transfer station the waste was carried to, so there is nothing short of complete confidence in our collections.


Whilst domestic refuse has increased, Clearabee’s skip bag service has become more popular as the bags provide a flexible service for quickly and effectively getting rid of a variety of waste streams. Arriving flat-packed and via the post, the bags can be used to get rid of everything from garden waste (should your local authority collection still be unavailable) to large bulky items that you would usually struggle to take to the tip.

Skip bags have also proved extremely useful to those who have been embarking upon home improvements and DIY projects, but have been unable to access local authority recycling centres and tips. The skip bag service stops these items from building up in your home or garden whilst also reducing the temptation to surreptitiously use local authority waste collections to remove it.

At Clearabee, we pride ourselves on our recycling and diversion from landfill rate, which is over 95%. This means that we can all still protect the environment by continuing to recycle, whilst helping to relieve the burden on the local authority’s recycling services until operations are able to return to normal.

Removing Rubbish. It’s what we do.



About Clearabee

Based in our Birmingham Head Office, Clearabee operates a nationwide on-demand rubbish clearance and waste removal service. Over 300 directly employed staff and 120 vehicles make up our Man and Van, Skip Bag, skip hire and sofa removal services which all operate in London, Bristol, Leeds and throughout the nation.

We are immensely proud to consider some of the UK’s leading brands as our exclusive customers. For 3 years running, Clearabee has ranked as the fastest-growing waste management company in Europe and has also featured on The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track for the last two years.


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