Council endorses new campaign supporting recycling and waste workers

27th April 2020

With most of us now staying at home, more household waste is putting pressure on recycling and waste services.

Today Recycle Now NI launches a nationwide campaign to let householders know how they can help our dedicated recycling and waste workers stay safe while they continue to provide us with the best possible service during the COVID-19 crisis.

The four-week campaign will consist of social media, local radio advertisements and leaflets distributed to every household (from Monday 11 May).

Dr Ian Garner, Head of WRAP Northern Ireland, said:

“Local authority recycling and waste collectors have been designated as key workers – and quite rightly. They perform an essential service that requires hard work, often in challenging conditions – and none more so than now. During the COVID-19 crisis they need our support and cooperation more than ever, so they can continue to do their jobs safely. The situation is challenging and can change quickly – so it’s up to us all to help.”

In Fermanagh and Omagh, we can do this by:

  • Checking our local council’s website, local press and social media regularly for updates on types and frequencies of recycling and waste collections where we live – including what can and can’t be recycled.
  • 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 be kept aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before they go into your external bin. For more information, see the Public Health England website: site/coronavirus
  • Continuing to wash our hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene when handling our rubbish and recycling and keeping at least two metres from workers when they are working.
  • Avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for council crews to collect. We need to hold onto large items such as furniture, mattresses until the outbreak has subsided and services return to normal.
  • Not taking clothes and other items to charity shops or clothes Many of these are closed or operating a restricted service. Items should not be left on charity shop doorsteps.
  • Re-using or finding another use for things we might otherwise throw away – for instance, using plastic tubs with lids to store leftovers in the freezer, or cutting up old sheets and towels to use as dusters and cleaning
  • Minimising the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste we Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good service for everyone. Find tips for reducing food waste here: lovefoodhatewaste.com and information on home composting here: recyclenow.com/reduce- waste/composting
  • Not burning waste at This creates air pollution that could harm people nearby who may already have breathing difficulties due to COVID-19. There is also the danger that fires could get out of control; fire services around the country are reporting an increase in callouts due to garden fires.

When putting out bins we should:

  •  Put bins out by 7am on day of collection
  • Clean bin handles with disinfectant before and after
  • Put wipes, cloths, gloves used for cleaning into the black/green landfill bin.

Additional recycling

  • Recyclable items that are not accepted in your blue recycling bin e.g. electronics, batteries, paint, should be stored safely at home until normal service resumes at your local recycling centre.

The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhán Currie, said:

“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is pleased to support Recycle Now’s campaign.

Council staff have continued to adapt quickly to changes in their working circumstances with a number of staff retrained and redeployed to support the delivery of critical services in waste and recycling. Many of our residents have been posting messages of support and encouragement to our staff undertaking this role; these messages are greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank residents who are taking additional measures to protect our staff by wiping down bin handles, bagging their waste in line with official guidance and keeping their distance from staff.

While we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic it is important that residents continue with these simple yet effective practices to protect our staff and so that the Council is best placed to continue to deliver waste collection services and keep disruption to a minimum.”

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s ability to maintain their usual collections may change throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Keep checking the council website to find out what will be collected, and please continue to recycle in the meantime.