Somerset bins overflow with Christmas rubbish as staff sickness hits collections

Somerset Waste Parntership estimates 50 staff have been unable to work today (January 4). Credit: ITV News

A lack of staff due to Covid is being blamed for rubbish piling up in some streets in Somerset.

Somerset Waste Partnership estimates 50 members of staff have been unable to work today (4 January) due to Covid sickness.

The problem has left some communities in the region struggling with the amount of rubbish left over from the festive period. 

Zeata Thompson, from Evercreech in Somerset, told ITV News: "It's really frustrating that we have to keep piling stuff up in bags and bringing it out here just in case they come.

"It's horrible and it's in people's way as well. It's disgusting."

Bins are reportedly “overflowing” with rubbish from the festive period. Credit: ITV News

Judy Whitcombe, another Evercreech resident said the confusion has left her unsure what to do with her rubbish: "My neighbour's daughter found on one website that it was going to be emptied today and another said it was going to be emptied on the weekend. It's very confusing."

Mickey Green, the Managing Director of Somerset Waste, said: "In parts of the county we are seeing absence levels of about five times what we were seeing at the start of December so as people can imagine that is having an impact on services.

"Clearly we've done everything we can to prepare for it so rubbish collections are unaffected and our recycling centres are open.

"Where we are starting to see some disruption to some residents is on recycling collections."

Somerset Waste is warning there could be more disruption to come with ongoing sickness.

A spokesperson told ITV News: "Crews are working really hard as they have throughout the pandemic and we would ask for people’s patience as we cope with this really tough period."

Somerset Waste have advised that if collections are delayed, people can:

  • Check for latest information

  • Make use recycling sites that are open on their usual winter schedule.

  • Squash, crush and flatten recycling to make more space.

  • Use a makeshift container, such as a cardboard box or similar, for extra recycling.

  • Keep food waste somewhere cool and make sure the food waste bin lid is always closed. If it really has to go, then double-bag it and put it in your rubbish bin. Better still, hoe compost it if you can.