Belfast City Council has temporarily moved to a black bin only collection service with immediate effect.
The measures are being introduced to enable Council to protect the health and safety of its workers by being compliant with the government directive on social distancing, and helping to reduce the risk to staff and the general public of the spread of coronavirus.
Blue and brown bins will no longer be collected until further notice to allow resources to be redirected. The kerbside box trial serving around 5,000 households in north Belfast has also temporarily been suspended. Council will keep the collection of recyclable waste under review.
Residents who are on a Bryson Recycling collection will have their boxes collected as usual, although Bryson may also experience some operational difficulties in coming days and weeks.
Lord Mayor Councillor Daniel Baker said: “The health and safety of our staff is paramount and it is imperative that we do all we can to protect our workers, and the general public.
“If we are to be compliant with the social distancing guidance, it is impossible for that not to have an impact on our day to day operations. Introducing these temporary measures will allow our resources to be focussed on the collection of black bin waste only, and will take some pressure off our service which is already feeling the strain of this unprecedented public health emergency.
“Scaling back the waste collection service will mean each bin lorry will be limited to one worker per cab, with additional workers travelling in convoy in separate vehicles. Understandably, these measures will have an impact on the efficiency of our operation but this is necessary and it is the right thing to do to protect our staff.”
Councillor Baker added: “As a Council we are committed to trying to ensure we keep critical services going for ratepayers however we are responding to a fast-changing situation and we are facing difficult operational decisions on a daily basis.
“I trust that residents will support us and our frontline staff at this time. We are relying on the goodwill and support of the public while we endeavour to deliver services across the city in the most challenging of circumstances, and I would ask them to do whatever they can to reduce household waste during this uncharted time.
“We are all in this together and it has never been more important for us to pull together as a community and support each other.”
Belfast City Council serves the largest geographical area out of all the 11 councils in Northern Ireland and has the largest population.