Frequently Asked Questions - HWRCs
These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been created to ensure the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are only being used to enable visits which are essential to prevent injury, illness or harm to residents who have a problem with storing too much waste or have oils or other hazardous waste at home and for whom these are important facilities.
Planning your visit
What instructions are in place to make my visit safe?
All site users must follow the new site instructions that include:
- If you are in self isolation or have Covid-19 symptoms you must NOT visit under any circumstances.
- You should only visit sites if it is necessary e.g. waste stored at home represents a health and safety risk.
- You must bring identification with you (driving licence with address) as sites are only open to Southend-on-Sea Borough residents.
- There are restrictions on the number of vehicles on-site and cars should be driver-only where possible (but two people from the same household can visit together if a bulky item needs two people to remove it from the vehicle).
- Social distancing of at least 2m must always be maintained and will be strictly enforced
- Site staff CANNOT assist the public to remove items from vehicles or carry items, due to social distancing.
- Only ONE person will be allowed on the steps and gantry (platform) at any time.
- Vehicles only can visit the sites – walking into the sites is not permitted.
What do you class as an essential use of the HWRCs?
The latest Government advice is clear: householders should only take waste to a HWRC if it cannot be stored safely at home and no alternative disposal options are available. So, journeys to HWRCs must only be undertaken if your waste or recycling cannot be stored at home safely. No other reason for the journey would be considered a legitimate reason.
Will there be changes to the way they operate once they re-open?
Yes – new site operating instructions have been prepared and will be enforced.
The instructions will be on display for visitors. There will be temporary traffic management arrangements and extra staff. Please listen to and follow staff instructions if you visit. If the safety of staff and other visitors is compromised by someone unwilling to follow site instructions, they will be asked to leave the site immediately and the site may have to be temporarily closed.
What should I do before my visit?
The new site operating instructions are publicised and re-produced on the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council website - please familiarise yourself with these before you visit.
Temporary traffic management will be in place – how and where to queue is also re-produced on the Council's website – please read the information. These arrangements may be subject to change so please listen to and follow staff instructions during your visit.
You must bring identification with you (driving licence with address) as sites are only open to Southend-on-Sea Borough residents.
What time is best to visit?
Since 8 June both sites have returned to usual summer opening hours.
- 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday - Leigh Marshes closed on Wednesdays, Stock Road closed on Thursdays
- 8am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday
Busiest times are usually when the HWRCs first open, and prior to, over and after the lunch-time period. Avoid visiting at weekends, particularly Sundays, if you can as it can be very busy. Please do not come to the sites before they open or queue on the highway nearby as this will add to local traffic congestion.
Both sites have webcams with live footage of the two sites – please check here before you visit .
Are there any restrictions regarding the type of vehicle I can come in? Can I come by foot?
Visitors will be restricted to vehicles only, no visitors on foot will be permitted for safety and to maintain social distancing.
Commercial type vehicles can only visit both sites between 11.30am and 5.00pm on Sunday 31 May and Sunday 7 June. Please see table for details of the phased opening of the sites for different vehicles on Southend Borough Council's website.
What should I expect during the visit?
Will my ID be checked?
Yes – please close your vehicle windows and place your ID (Driving Licence only) against the closed window so that it can be checked by staff.
Only Southend-on-Sea Borough residents are allowed into the sites so if you do not live in the borough please do not visit.
Will there be delays in accessing the sites?
Yes – to maintain social distancing and to protect visitor and staff safety only a limited number of vehicles will be allowed on site at any one time, and then ‘one out, one in’ to control numbers.
There is likely to be longer than normal waiting times and potentially long queues into the sites. Please be patient. Staff will be working hard in difficult conditions to get you through as quickly and safely as they can. Do not forget both sites have webcams with live footage of the two sites – before you visit please check here.
Are there restrictions on the number of people allowed in one vehicle?
Yes – for your safety only one person per vehicle (the driver), unless it is a bulky item that requires two people from the same household to unload it. Otherwise no passengers. Please note no children or pets are allowed on site.
I will need help unloading items, can site staff help me?
No – staff are unable to assist with the unloading of any item(s) from a vehicle. Please do not ask them.
If you cannot unload the waste yourself, please do not bring it. If the waste is a bulky item, then two people from the same household/vehicle are permitted in to unload and place it into a container. Alternatively, consider booking a kerbside bulky waste collection via our portal or employ a registered waste carrier.
Can I visit the HWRCs on foot?
Visitors will be restricted to vehicles only, no visitors on foot will be permitted to maintain social distancing.
If you do not have access to a vehicle, please store your waste until restrictions are relaxed, or consider alternative disposal options including your weekly kerbside collection where appropriate, or the bulky waste collection service.
Will all recycling and waste containers be open?
Materials will be recycled wherever possible unless re-processors are unable to accept them.
You will be instructed by staff how to dispose of items if they cannot be recycled. For your safety areas may be closed for cleaning by staff, these areas will alternate every few minutes to allow scheduled cleaning.
I have reusable items; can I bring them to the re-use shop?
The Re-use shop is now open Monday to Sunday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm and closed on Thursdays.
Could I be turned away from the site?
Yes - Please consider whether your visit is essential. In line with the latest government guidance, only visit if you are unable to safely store your items at home.
Will there be temporary closures of the site during the advertised opening hours?
Yes – the usual compacting of containers and replacement of full containers will continue. However, there will also be regular cleaning of areas used by visitors for your safety. Please be patient, staff will be working hard to maintain your safety and to keep the sites running.
Can I go to the site before its advertised opening time?
No – please do not come to the sites before they open or queue on the highway nearby as this will add to local traffic congestion. If you do, you may be asked to move on to prevent traffic obstruction.
What happens if I do not maintain social distancing on the site?
You will be asked to leave the site immediately if you do not maintain safe social distancing, in serious situations the site may be closed again temporarily. If you are unwilling to adhere to the new site operating instructions or follow staff instructions, please do not visit.
How can I protect myself if I visit?
Always maintain social distancing of at least 2m. Whilst there will be regular cleaning of areas used by visitors, we advise visitors not to touch their face after visiting the sites and to wash their hands as soon as they are able. Alternatively bring your own hand-sanitiser and use this before you leave the site.
Can I bring recycling bags and black bag waste to the recycling centres?
Please do not bring pink recycling sacks containing recyclable materials or black sacks containing mixed waste. The easiest way to dispose of these is to use the normal weekly collections for these items. Bringing them to the sites is taking space and time that could be allocated to visitors that genuinely need to dispose of items that cannot be added to the normal weekly collection.
Is trade waste allowed?
No – trade or commercial waste is strictly prohibited. Do not bring it to the sites as you will be turned away.
Why have the sites re-opened? Is it safe?
Following the latest Government guidance, the sites have reopened to allow the disposal of waste that cannot be stored safely at home and where no alternative disposal options are available. Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic continues the sites will be opened in a way that follows Government and industry guidance. The safety of both visitors and staff is the priority. The new site operating instructions are publicised and re-produced on the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council website - please familiarise yourself with these before you visit.
Why were the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) closed?
The decision to close the HWRCs was taken on 24th March. This was in line with the UK Government’s guidance for people to stay at home and only travel if necessary, to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Why can’t anyone visit regardless of the type or amount of waste?
The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented, and we must all work together to concentrate on beating the virus.
The Government's latest guidance states that ‘householders should only take waste to a HWRC if it cannot be stored safely at home and no alternative disposal options are available’. We understand that it can be frustrating to temporarily keep waste at home when it cannot be collected through the normal weekly waste collection. However, by not visiting you are helping to reduce the risk of the infection spreading.
The weekly waste collection and weekly pink sack recycling collection can accept a wide range of materials so please use these services whenever possible. Please visit the Council's website for further information on what can be collected in your weekly kerbside collection.
When will the sites open without the Covid-19 restrictions?
We are keeping up to date with Government guidance and as soon as it is safe to do so we will confirm back-to-normal arrangements. Please check Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's website and social media channels for updates.
To avoid visiting the HWRCs what other options are available?
If you have generated a lot of mixed waste that can be put into the black sack, please do this.
To assist the collection staff, think about adding it to your normal weekly collection gradually over several weeks rather than putting all the sacks out in one week.
I visit Two Tree Island regularly should I continue during the re-opening period?
We expect the traffic around the Leigh Marshes site to be heavy, with longer than normal waiting times and queuing, so avoid visiting the area if you can during the first two weeks that the site re-opens.