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COVID-19 - waste and recycling advice

Local authorities across the UK, including Gloucestershire are working hard to provide the best possible service during the COVID-19 crisis. Waste and recycling crews are designated key workers, and they are doing a fantastic job.

As most of us are now staying at home, more household waste will put pressure on recycling and waste services. 

Gloucestershire’s Household Recycling Centres are now closed. Staff shortages may mean changes to services like garden waste collections and removal of bulky items like mattresses, white goods or furniture.

The situation is challenging and can change quickly. It’s up to us all to help.

You can do this by:

  • Checking your local council’s website regularly for updates on types and frequencies of recycling and waste collections where you live – including what can and can’t be recycled. Here you will also find updates on suspended services.
  • STOP taking any waste and recycling to the local Household Waste Recycling Centre. This is not defined by the Government as an essential journey - and all Gloucestershire Household Waste and Recycling Centres are closed.
  • STOP taking clothes and other items to charity shops. These are now closed. Donations should not be left on their doorsteps.
  • Minimising the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste you produce. Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good service for everyone. Find tips for reducing food waste here:
  • If you’re self-isolating and feeling ill, putting any potentially infected items like used tissues or cleaning cloths into separate plastic bags and double bagging them. These bags should then be put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before you put them out into your external bin. For more information, see the Public Health England website:
  • Disposing of tissues correctly. All tissues should be going in your waste bin and NOT your recycling bin. Follow the above guidance for tissues if you have or suspect you have coronavirus.
  • Avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for council crews to collect. You need to hold onto large items such as furniture, mattresses etc. until the outbreak has subsided and services return to normal.
  • Continuing to wash your hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene when handling your rubbish and recycling and keeping your distance when collection workers are doing their collections.

When putting out bins you should:

  1. Put bins out the evening before collection is scheduled.
  2. Clean bin handles with disinfectant before and after collection.
  3. Put wipes, cloths, gloves etc. used for cleaning into the general waste. 



Follow HM Government guidance, which includes:

  • Storing securely personal waste (such as tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths in a plastic bag or sack
  • Placing this bag inside another bag and waiting 72 hours before disposing of them in your external bin

Full HM Government guidance can be found here:

It is important to follow HM Government guidelines. It states any items that are personal waste, such as tissues and disposable cleaning items need to be double bagged. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Full HM Government guidance can be found here:

No. Putting out more waste at the kerbside will put pressure on waste collection crews who are working hard to ensure that everyone still gets a refuse collection during this crisis. All Gloucestershire Councils have strict side waste policies in force. This means no extra bags, and all bin lids need to be able to close fully.

Please hold onto materials which you would have taken to the HRC, and wait until the sites reopen. Placing extra material and unacceptable material in your kerbside bin will create additional problems for both collection crews and waste treatment sites.

If you have excess garden waste, you could consider home composting your waste. This is a great solution for your garden waste that produces a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. For more information see:

Putting out more waste at the kerbside will put pressure on waste collection crews who are working hard to ensure that everyone still gets a refuse collection during this crisis  Also, most of the materials taken to HRCs are recycled. Putting HRC material into your wheeled waste bin bypasses the recycling process and sends it straight to waste disposal instead. This will costs councils more and is harmful for the environment. Please hold onto your HRC waste and bring it in to the sites when they reopen.

  • Recyclable material such as paper, card, cardboard, bottles and cans – Use your kerbside recycling boxes/bins for this
  • Garden waste/compostable material –Use your kerbside collection, consider home composting, or hold on to your waste until our Household Recycling Centres reopen
  • Food waste -  use your kerbside food waste caddy
  • Soil and rubble
  • Gas bottles
  • Metal or wood
  • Plasterboard
  • Tyres
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
  • Batteries
  • Bags of dusty DIY type material  
  • Chemicals
  • Asbestos

For the latest information on your kerbside waste and recycling collection, see your councils webpage here:

Cheltenham Borough Council

Cotswold District Council

Forest of Dean District Council

Gloucester City Council

Stroud District Council

Tewkesbury Borough Council

Love Food Hate Waste has very helpful tips on how to store and cook items to make them last longer and make the best use out of food to prevent waste. Visit to find out more about what you can do to prevent food waste and make the best use of the food you have.

We have lots of tips and advice across on how to reduce your waste.

We have some lesson plans available for teachers here that could easily be adapted to work in a home setting.

Recycle now also have lots of helpful resources along with wastebuster which is a little more child-friendly so perfect for younger children.


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