North East Lincolnshire Council

COVID-19: How the lockdown is affecting your bins and recycling boxes

Big changes are happening in the area’s wheelie bins and recycling boxes since the COVID-19 lockdown started on 23 March.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s bin crews are collecting between 20 and 50 per cent more household waste and recycling than they usually do at this time of year.

Crews collected 200 tonnes more household waste and recycling in the first three weeks of the lockdown compared to the same period last year.

Bin crews are key workers and they’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the public as they pull out all the stops to keep up with the extra demand without disruption to rounds.

Waste and Street Cleansing vehicles have been decorated with children’s rainbow drawings and the ‘In this together’ messages.

More people are at home because of coronavirus and that means a lot more rubbish and recycling to pick up.

Crews are collecting a lot more glass jars and bottles than they usually do.

People are probably drinking a lot more coffee while they are working at home.

People drinking more at home instead of in pubs and bars also accounts for the increase in beer and wine bottles, especially as the weather has been so nice.

Crews have also seen a big increase in cardboard packaging as more people shop online.

Households can help by breaking down cardboard to fit it in your blue box and squashing plastic bottles and tins to fit more in your orange box.

NELC are operating more waste crews to support the increase and have made changes to its depot in Grimsby to store the extra recycling to support the increase. This means crews do not have to travel as far as they usually do to tip their loads when the lorries are full.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport at the Council, said:

“Our bin crews are doing all they can to keep rounds running as normal.
“We’ve recruited extra staff from other parts of the Council to help.
“Some of them are new to the job. They’re helping the regular crews because of coronavirus.”

He added:

“Like most organisations, we have to adapt what we do to keep services running during this period of uncertainty.
“If you leave more rubbish and recycling with your bins and boxes, our lorries fill up much quicker and have to make more trips to the depot to unload.
“If everyone did it, we wouldn’t finish the rounds on time and some streets won’t have their recycling collected at all.
“This is a national emergency and it’s better for everyone at this time if we reduce the amount of rubbish and recycling we create.
“We know this isn’t easy, but every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good collection service for everyone
“Keep those in your household safe. Your bin crews are key workers; please keep them safe too.”


Twelve tips on how you can help

  1. Check regularly for updates on any changes to waste and recycling collections. Sign up to have updates sent directly at
  2. Please make sure that all domestic waste is put in sealed bags first and that your green bin lid is firmly closed. Don’t leave extra bags of rubbish with your bin
  3. We will collect up to five recycling boxes as long as they are presented correctly. Please don’t leave large cardboard boxes or other items that don’t fit inside the recycling boxes. Squash plastic bottles and tins to fit more in your orange box. Break down cardboard to fit in your blue box.
  4. Minimise the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste you produce. Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good collection service for everyone. Find tips for reducing food waste at Visit to find out what you can and can’t recycle.
  5. Avoid having a big ‘clear-out’ while at home as this will only create more rubbish and recycling for our workers to collect. Bulky waste collections start again on 4 May for items such as furniture, white goods and mattresses. Book online at
  6. Check restrictions at the Community Recycling Centres before making an unnecessary journey. Only visit if it is absolutely necessary – store your waste and recycling at home if you can do it safely.
  7. Park sensibly so our bin wagons can drive into your street. Many more people are at home, and parked cars may restrict access to bins for our collection crews, making their job more difficult and increasing the likelihood that bins cannot be emptied.
  8. Don’t stop recycling. With the global economy disrupted, it’s more important than ever to recycle your paper, card, plastic, cans and glass to ensure that valuable resources are recycled and made into new products for people to buy.
  9. All charity shops are now closed so please do not leave donations on their doorsteps. But remember charity shops will be very grateful for donations once the crisis is over.
  10. Do not burn your waste at home. This creates air pollution that could harm people nearby who may already have breathing difficulties. There is also the danger that fires could get out of control. Fire services around the country are reporting an increase in callouts due to garden fires.
  11. When putting out your waste and recycling containers, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re doing this as safely as possible:
    • Keep your distance when our workers are collecting your waste and recycling.
    • Disinfect your bag, bin, box and caddy handles again, before and after collection.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling and disinfecting your bags, bins, boxes and caddies.
    • Put wipes, cloths, gloves, etc. used for cleaning your bags, bins, boxes and caddies into your non-recyclable waste bin or bag, as these can’t be recycled.
  12. If you’re self-isolating and feeling unwell, double-bag your personal waste (such as tissues) and put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before putting them out for collection.
    • Do not put tissues into your recycling as they cannot be recycled.
    • Disinfect your bag, bin, box and caddy handles before and after you touch them.
    • Put your bags, bins, boxes and caddies out



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