How to stop Bank Holidays ruining your refuse collection strategy

For most people, Bank Holidays are something to look forward to; extra time off to spend with family and friends. For Local Authorities, however, public holidays can be a logistical nightmare – pushing municipal waste management schedules out of synch.

Spring is a critical time of year for refuse collection services, as Easter and the two May Bank Holiday weekends fall in quick succession. The Easter weekend has fallen particularly late this year, leaving council teams with little time to catch up before the schedule gets disrupted again.

Some Local Authorities choose to deal with this dilemma by paying refuse collection teams overtime to carry out their normal duties on a Monday. But this is an expensive solution, particularly when budgets are tight.

The secret to avoiding Bank Holiday collection chaos relies on better forward planning and quicker responses. And this is only possible to achieve effectively with the right municipal waste management technology in place.

Always be prepared

The main reason that Local Authority teams struggle with Bank Holiday collection changes is an inability to respond quickly enough when routines return to normal. Often residents are confused about which bin to put out, or a social weekend results in them leaving more waste than usual for collection.

There are two ways in which waste management teams can manage this issue. The first is to prepare thoroughly; make sure every household in the local area knows when rubbish will be carried out amid public holiday disruption, and what type of collection will take place. A multi-channel approach is the best way to spread the word – including website updates, letterbox leaflets, email, social media posts and even citizen apps.

Clear community information is necessary not just for accuracy, but to ensure residents do not unwittingly put their bins out for collection when there is no round taking place. At the very least it can be unsightly and unsanitary to have waste lying around for up to a week; at worst, it can be tipped or blown over and spread around the streets, resulting in a clean-up job for the environmental services team. 

Catching up quickly

The second thing that Local Authorities can do to catch up after a Bank Holiday weekend is to intelligently alter collection services, based on the demands of their community.

Too many waste management teams do exactly the same route week-in, week-out, regardless of how much rubbish needs to be picked up. The main reason for this is that there is no way for collection crews to easily communicate to head office, so additional resources cannot be deployed in real time.

With municipal waste management technology, refuse collection teams can be far more strategic about the way in which their manpower is distributed. Workflows can be planned centrally, so that every member of the team is utilised effectively; ad-hoc round sheets can be produced if needed to deal with demand; and mobile communication systems mean collection crews can report back during their shift, in case the plan of action needs to change.

This way, even if something takes teams by surprise, they can immediately notify main office personnel and plans can be put in place to solve the problem quickly and seamlessly. There is little or no time delay between a problem being revealed and a solution being developed.  

Taking away waste worries

Very few people can fully relax when work worries are hanging over their head, and fears about the state of the streets next week can ruin public holidays for waste collection workers.

Municipal waste management tech takes away that fear factor by giving Local Authorities the capacity to respond to whatever collection demands are thrown at them after the long weekend.

With a good platform in place, strategic staff have the insight and communication tools at their fingertips to respond quickly and effectively, getting refuse disposal services back on track before the next Bank Holiday arrives – and keeping citizens well informed at each stage.

A good waste management platform will also deliver insights into how missed collections impact rubbish levels – which can be used to improve the planning process next time round.

Whitespace Municipal helps hundreds of Local Authorities in the UK reduce the cost and complexity of refuse collection. Book a demo to try our technology for free.


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