Do not visit a household recycling centre (HRC, or “the tip”) right now unless your waste cannot be stored safely at home. This is the simple message that Dorset Council is using to help deal with rising visitor numbers.
Recent warm weather has resulted in HRCs becoming busy again as visitors drop off their items – primarily garden waste and wood – which is starting to cause long queues, creating access problems for residents, businesses and kerbside collection vehicles.
Last May, Dorset Council re-opened its HRCs with safety restrictions in place after they were closed in the early stages of the pandemic. Initially, extra people were brought in to manage queuing traffic, but this was scaled back as visitor numbers eased over the summer, with volunteers and employees deployed elsewhere.
This had continued to work well over the colder months when visitor numbers are traditionally lower, but lately the mild weather in Dorset has encouraged people to begin gardening again, or Spring cleaning. This produces more waste, which in turn causes visitor numbers to rise.
But safety restrictions remain in place, meaning that access to each HRC still hasn’t returned to pre-COVID levels. For example, parts of each site may have been sectioned off to help with social distancing, there can only be one person on the access steps at any given time and on-site staff are not permitted to physically help visitors unload and drop off their waste.