Statement on waste collections: food waste collections temporarily suspended

Published date

Harlow Council and Veolia have taken the decision to temporarily suspend food waste collections in order to focus on catching up on other missed collections across the town.

Residents should place their food waste in their black non-recycling bins or purple non-recycling bags until further notice. This suspension will enable Veolia to free up drivers who would normally complete these rounds and instead work on providing green waste, non-recycling and recycling collections.

Residents can also leave out an extra bag of non-recycling during this time.

By taking this approach, Veolia will be able to focus resource on getting other waste collection services back on track, including the Green Waste Premium service. In recent weeks there has been significant disruption to this subscription service which has on occasion seen collections take place several days late. 

These problems are in large part due to a national shortage of HGV drivers, meaning that the Council’s waste contractor, Veolia, has struggled to recruit drivers to fill vacancies. The Council is working closely with Veolia, which is increasing its efforts to recruit and train drivers. The situation has been made worse recently through a number of Veolia’s staff having to undertake COVID-19 related self-isolation. The impact has been that over the last few weeks there have been insufficient drivers for the large waste vehicles that are required to collect the garden waste. We have decided with Veolia to prioritise driver resources into the collection of ‘black bin’ waste, recycling, green waste and flat block communal bins, to ensure a smoother overall service.

You can check latest bin dates on the bin collections page 

Councillor Alastair Gunn, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said:

“Residents will have seen a very poor level of service in recent weeks that we very much regret and that I personally apologise for. The main causes are the national shortage of HGV drivers and, more recently, COVID-19 enforced isolation for some of Veolia’s waste collection staff. 

“We are working with Veolia to bring new staff into the service to ensure that all collections get back to acceptable levels as soon as possible, including the subscription garden waste service which has fallen several days behind. However, we do need to take the regrettable short-term step of pausing the separate food waste collection. This is to help Veolia get the wider service back working better.

“We all sincerely hope that within the next few weeks normal service can be resumed. I would ask all residents to please remain patient as Veolia and Harlow Council work through this situation, and thank you for your understanding.”