Published: Wednesday, 6th May 2020

Plans are underway to safely reopen Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) across Kent and Medway for essential use.

HWRCs were closed in March in line with government guidelines to encourage people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives as part of its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Medway Council has developed a new online booking system in preparation for its HWRCs at Capstone and Hoath Way in Gillingham to reopen from Friday, 15 May – the online booking system will be the only way to access a waste centre. Further plans will be put in place for the site at Cuxton to safely reopen as soon as possible at a later date.

This will enable residents who have booked an appointment to dispose of waste that is presenting a hazard and cannot reasonably be disposed of in other ways. The booking system will enable the council to both manage demand and meet essential social distancing requirements, which are being introduced to ensure the protection of customers and staff.

The same system is being implemented across all Kent County Council waste disposal sites at the same time.

We have been working on plans to safely reopen our centres in line with government guidelines

Medway’s Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services and covering waste disposal, Cllr Phil Filmer, said: “Medway Council has been busy working on plans to allow our Household Waste and Recycling Centres to safely reopen in line with government guidelines for essential use only. I am pleased our centres will be reopened soon for residents who have no other means to securely store or dispose of waste.

“Although the council has maintained an excellent weekly household waste and recycling collection throughout the lockdown, we know there is demand for these much-appreciated and additional facilities to be reopened. However, it is essential that we do so in a way that keeps people safe and avoids customers having to wait in long queues. Implementing a booking only system is the best way to achieve this.”

To ensure all customers get fair access to a site to dispose of waste, households can only book one visit per calendar month. All waste items usually accepted at each HWRC can be disposed of during this time, but please only book a visit if the journey is essential. Initially only the sites at Capstone and Hoath Way in Gillingham will be reopened – the HWRC at Cuxton will remain closed until plans have been put in place for it to be safely reopened.

Customers will be asked to show their booking reference on arrival – either on a device such as a phone or a print out. The online booking system is anticipated to go live from Wednesday, 13 May – further details on how to access the system in Medway and Kent will be released nearer the time.

Thank you for your patience during this difficult time

Cllr Filmer added: “Thank you to residents for your patience during this difficult time. To reduce the risk to both residents and our staff, we ask that everyone carefully considers whether a trip to a HWRC is essential or if the visit can wait until restrictions are lifted. Please only book an appointment if you absolutely need to visit a HWRC and if you do,  remember to stay two metres apart.”

Medway’s weekly household waste and recycling collections have continued throughout the pandemic, with crews collecting 26 per cent more during April compared with the same period last year due to more people being at home. 

Thank you to our waste collection crews and staff 

Speaking about the tremendous efforts from the household waste crews, Cllr Filmer said: “I’d personally like to thank the crews and all the staff who have maintained our excellent weekly service during these challenging and busy times. Thank you also to Medway residents for your cooperation during this time. I am pleased that Medway residents continue to receive one of the best weekly collection services in the country. Please do continue to recycle and dispose of the appropriate waste on your household collection day or make use of our bulky collection service for larger goods to ensure you can stay home and stay safe.”

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