Why don’t you just open more bays at the sites?
We are still operating under social distancing measures, and do not know when these will be eased. Closing off alternate bays ensures that residents are able to adhere to the specific HWRS safety guidance released by the government:
"Workplaces need to avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) between individuals wherever possible - or one metre with risk mitigations where 2 metres is not viable."
More bays will be opened when it is safe to reduce social distancing measures at the sites. This may increase the number of vehicles that can be admitted to sites during each booking slot.
Why don’t you just collect more at the kerbside?
Household collections are operated by district and borough councils. Some areas are already collecting additional items at the kerbside, such as small electrical items and textiles. We are working with others who are considering introducing these collections in their areas. We encourage residents to make full use of their kerbside recycling, green and general waste collections wherever possible.
Before planning a visit to your local HWRS, check what can be disposed of in your local household collections.
Why don’t you install cameras at the sites so that people can see if there are queues?
We have considered the use of webcams at HWRS a number of times, but they are not practical for several reasons:
- Most HWRS have sharp turnings outside the sites - a camera on the gate would not provide a helpful view in these cases.
- There are practical and legal restrictions to placing cameras elsewhere (such as local roads).
- While cameras would be up to date when viewed at home, the situation can change in between leaving the house and arriving on site.
Why don’t you just open the sites for longer or more days?
The additional cost of opening sites seven days a week for extended hours runs to £1.35m per year. The booking system and Customer Service Centre is expected to cost around £85,000 for the expected duration of the trial.
Many of the issues caused at the sites are by people using them at peak times, for example arriving early and queuing before the site opens, while at other times they are quieter. Using the booking system to spread visits more evenly should enable all residents to gain access without waiting in queues for extended periods.
You make money from recycling, so why can’t that be put towards the cost of opening sites for longer?
While some income is derived from the sale of recyclable material, it contributes very little to offset the £64m cost of the service as a whole.
The cost of opening the sites for seven days a week would not be offset by any increase in the amount of recycling or waste brought onto sites during additional opening hours.
As the service has been limited, can I have a refund on my Council Tax?
Most of the money raised by the council tax you pay is spent on the most vulnerable people in our community. For example 33% is spent on vulnerable adults and 25% on vulnerable children and schools. Household Waste Recycling Sites account for about 0.1% of the budget.
These measures are being introduced in response to the COVID-19 situation. While we hope things continue to improve, we are subject to guidance on social distancing to protect our residents. We cannot refund council tax in these circumstances.
Won’t this just encourage more fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping is a criminal offence which can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years' imprisonment. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) takes this act very seriously and we work in partnership with the district and borough councils to monitor and manage this.
Although there has been a small rise in the number of fly-tips across West Sussex over the last year, these have largely involved commercial waste. We would recommend that anyone using a waste disposal firm ensures that they see the company's waste carrier licence. You can also make sure the firm is registered with the Environment Agency.
We are currently developing a countywide initiative to highlight the problem of fly-tipping and how this can be avoided. We will be share further details in due course.
What about people who will burn their waste instead of booking a visit to a site?
WSCC and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service ask people not to have garden bonfires, especially at the current time when more vulnerable members of the community have been self-isolating and need to get fresh air into their homes.
Using a bonfire to dispose of household waste is illegal and garden waste bonfires cause a nuisance if they adversely affect others.
We encourage garden composting and offer a subsidised composter to residents who wish to purchase one. See further information at getcomposting.com.
What about people who will travel further afield to visit a site that isn’t local to them?
We always encourage residents to visit a site local to them, especially while under lockdown conditions when you should only be leaving the house for essential reasons and not leaving your locality. We therefore ask you not to travel further afield to dispose of waste without good reason.