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8:26am on Thursday, 9th April, 2020:



Because a lot of its workers were hors do combat with Covid-19, Colchester Council made the decision that while it would continue to pick up regular rubbish and food waste, it wouldn't pick up recyclable rubbish.

Recyclable rubbish is marginally profitable. It's not a gold mine, but it is worth more than it costs to collect. The recycling companies, who would normally pay the council for the rubbish, are therefore collecting it themselves. Every Wednesday afternoon, a Colchester Skip Hire lorry now appears in West Bergholt and stops at a few key points to pick up the recyclable waste of anyone who wants to bring them a clear plastic bag full of the stuff.

This was the scene yesterday at 3pm at the collection point I went to.

There must have been 50 people in the queue, which stretched in both directions. Fortunately for me, I was in the arm that was served first (which went to the right of the truck). Between the truck and the man in the yellow vest is the other arm, which was longer than ours. Some of the people at the front of this had been waiting much longer than I had, and were understandably put out, but this is what happens when you have two queues.

I arrived slightly before the appointed time. Other people were still arriving in their droves as I left, after having taken this photo. Some had large items that wouldn't normally be picked up by the council (one had a bike frame), but as the tip is also closed I suppose they decided to chance it. The men manning the truck didn't seem to mind anyway. They also loaded up a large pile of bags that had accumulated in the pub car park (at CSH's request, to help keep the queues down).

Everyone was social distancing, but had to pass maybe a metre away from the man in the yellow jacket after they'd dumped their bags in the back of the truck. If he has the virus, we're all going down with it.

Later yesterday, news arrived that Colchester had changed its policy and would now be picking up recyclable waste every 4 weeks.

Garden waste still won't get picked up, either by the council or CSH. Oh, and bonfires are banned because some people have asthma and it irritates their lungs if they're out doing their daily exercise and inhale smoke.

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Copyright © 2020 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).