Major delays to bin collections as Bristol Waste staff in isolation

Overflowing bins in Bristol
Bristol Waste currently has 28 collection staff in self-isolation - 10% of its workforce. Credit: ITV West Country

There are huge delays to rubbish collection in Bristol as one in 10 of Bristol Waste's frontline workers are in self-isolation.

The firm has 28 staff members who cannot work, either because they have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has.

Bristol Waste has suspended collection of garden waste for 10 weeks, meaning it might not be picked up until September.

Collections of black bags and general waste have also been delayed and rubbish is now building up on streets around the city.

The issue is particularly bad in places like Redland and Cotham as students are moving out at the end of term and leaving waste behind.

Bristol Waste and Bristol City Council say they are "doing everything possible" to minimise disruption to the collections.

They have enabled overtime, moved drivers from other areas of the business, deployed staff to support the frontline and are asking city partners to lend driving staff.

The Mayor of Bristol has asked residents to remain patient. Credit: ITV News West Country

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: "The unlocking of the country and the self-isolation policy is unavoidably affecting our waste collection. We understand everyone has had enough of the pandemic impacting their daily lives and this is yet another unwanted consequence.

"Of course, staff have to follow the current government isolation rules and this has left us with a significant shortage of drivers, which in turn has an impact on the service we can deliver.

“I would like to offer thanks to all the Bristol Waste staff who are picking up extra responsibilities. I would also like to thank everyone in Bristol for their patience. Please do bear with us as we negotiate this difficult period.”

Rubbish is building up in and around Bristol's streets and parks. Credit: ITV West Country

Jason Eldridge, Service Delivery Director at Bristol Waste, said: "Our crews are working exceptionally hard to keep essential waste and recycling services running despite a national driver shortage coinciding with a spike in staff needing to self-isolate due to contact tracing.

"Thank you to everyone in Bristol for their patience and understanding as we continue to tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic. Please treat our crews with respect and continue to sort your bins and boxes ready for collection."