Oxford City Council and ODS have temporarily suspended the garden waste collection service (the brown bins) during the coronavirus crisis to help keep essential services running..
The Council is responding to a national emergency and the move will allow staff to be redeployed during the coronavirus crisis to help keep essential services running. This includes putting significant additional resources into helping vulnerable people, taking part in food distribution and supporting homeless people – against a backdrop of increasing numbers of Council and ODS staff themselves affected by coronavirus.
Waste collection remains an essential service, particularly food waste as we move into warmer weather. Added to this we have seen a significant increase in domestic waste volumes as people stay at home. While at the same time 19 of ODS’ 65 operatives involved in household waste and recycling collections are off due to coronavirus-related issues.
Across the whole of ODS 29 employees are off for coronavirus-related reasons, so we are already using employees from other service areas to support waste collection. In these circumstances, garden waste collection is not an essential service, and so the Council is asking residents who use the service not to put their brown bins out until further notice.
Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Customer Focused Services said: “I realise that suspending this service will cause inconvenience for residents, and not having a garden waste collection is not ideal for Oxford’s keen gardeners who are stuck at home. But I’m sure most will understand that as our resources are reduced at this time of crisis that we must redirect them to keeping essential services working.”
“We are seeing increasing numbers of our key workers become ill or going into self-isolation, so we must continue to push our resources towards core waste and recycling services, which at the moment we are continuing to run as normal.”
ODS key workers are also delivering services that include housing repairs, including gas, water and electrical emergencies, for Oxford City Council, and must continue to carry on working throughout the lockdown period. ODS is operating in line with Government guidelines to protect staff and the community meaning only essential or emergency work can be carried out.
The garden waste collection service costs £1 a week and that subscription cost will now roll over until the service restarts. When subscriptions are due to be renewed, we will add on the number of weeks we have suspended the service. All contracts start at different times and people can pay by various means.