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Statement: Continuing closure of Household Reuse and Recycling Centres

1 May 2020

The six Household Reuse and Recycling Centres (HRRCs) across the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) region have been closed since late March 2020 following clear government guidelines that restricted all non-essential travel in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The SLWP boroughs (Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton) took the decision that trips to the centres could not be deemed ’essential’, particularly as kerbside collection services of general waste, recycling, food waste and garden waste have continued without any significant disruption. This is a view that was supported by feedback from the Police and the vast majority of local authorities (across the country around 90% of HRRCs were closed and in London not a single site remained open).

The decision to keep the HRRC sites closed is being kept under constant review. The sites will reopen as soon as it is safe for both staff and customers and when the boroughs are confident that reopening them will in no way contradict any of the key government advice around restrictions on non-essential travel.

In the meantime, residents are advised that bulky waste items, garden waste, DIY waste etc. should be stored safely on their property. Any residents who have waste that is causing a genuine risk to health or safety, and that cannot be taken by the kerbside collection crews, should contact their local council for advice.

Plans are being made on how the six sites can reopen, as soon as the time is right, with strict social distancing measures in place.

What is clear is that it will not be possible to reopen the sites with things ‘back to normal’ from day one. Significant changes will be required to the way residents access the sites, and to the range of materials that can be accepted, in order to protect the health and safety of residents and site staff. We are confident that given the circumstances, residents will understand and be supportive of these measures. Details will be published on the councils’ websites in due course.

In the meantime, it is just left for us to thank residents for continuing to ‘recycle more and waste less’ during these challenging and uncertain times and to share our huge gratitude and appreciation for the many key workers across our councils and commercial partners who are working hard to keep critical recycling, waste and street cleaning service running.

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