With the imposition of lockdown, we prioritised kerbside recycling and general waste collections to keep them running normally. Many residents were grateful that the service was not interrupted, with staff mentioned in many of the rainbow thank you pictures posted in windows across the district.
We did have to temporarily suspend large item and garden waste collections due to staff self-isolating or shielding, but these resumed quickly in mid-April 2020.
Due to health concerns however, we had to close all our recycling centres. Following a detailed review, Keynsham recycling centre reopened at the end of May 2020 for essential use only, where access is restricted to four vehicles at a time, and users must maintain social distancing. Bath recycling centre re-opened in July, on an appointment-only basis.
An unexpected and frustrating impact of the lifting of lockdown restrictions has been a big increase in the amount of litter left in our parks and open spaces.
Gas canisters, balloons, glass, disposable barbecues, plastic bottles, cans, and bags of dog foul have been left strewn on the ground and around overflowing bins, putting extra strain on us. In May and June alone our cleansing team dealt with more than 120 littering incidents.
While the support of volunteers such as the Keynsham Wombles has been invaluable, it is the responsibility of residents and visitors to clear up their rubbish, and use a bin or take it home. To try to combat the litter menace we have now launched an anti-littering campaign with the powerful message ‘Don’t be a tosser’. The campaign is not intended to cause offence, but the message is hard-hitting. Signs have been erected in parks and open spaces in Keynsham, Saltford, and Bath, and anyone caught littering can be fined £150.