Thousands of homes miss green bin collections due to driver shortage

Green bins waiting for collection in York. Photograph: YorkMix
28 Jun 2018 @ 7.53 am
| Environment, News

Thousands of York homes have missed their garden waste collections this week, because of a shortage of drivers.

More than 100 streets were missed off collection rounds on Monday (June 25) – adding up to more than 3,500 homes – and council staff are blaming problems on recruiting enough lorry drivers.

According to City of York Council’s waste services team, streets were missed in Fulford, Bishopthorpe and around Hull Road on Monday.

James Gilchrist, the authority’s assistant director of transport, highways and environment, said:

Due to a shortage of drivers, despite our recruitment activities, we are struggling to collect green waste and are working to collect the backlog over the next ten days.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and ask that residents please present their green bins as usual, and leave those not yet collected at the kerbside ready for collection.

The problem only affects garden waste, he said, not other rubbish or recycling collections.

Garden waste not prioritised

At a meeting on Tuesday, Mr Gilchrist said garden waste collections are seasonal so bring a few months of heightened demand for the department.

He said they had tried to address staffing problems by offering permanent council contracts rather than temporary ones – to give people job security – and had started to train their existing loaders as drivers to fill the gaps.

However, he said they prioritise other collections over garden waste when they have staff shortages.

A report prepared for that meeting shows that York collects around 172kgs of garden waste per household which is more than Harrogate and Scarborough but less than Selby, Hambleton and Ryedale.

Around 85 per cent comes from kerbside collections, and in total it would cost nearly £1.5 million in landfill tax if it weren’t recycled.