Keeping waste working through Coronavirus: 16/04/2020

Both Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have supported the position that anyone involved in the collection, processing, recycling and disposal of waste, including scrap metal, is allowed, if not encouraged to continue operating.

BEIS, Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP has acknowledged those working in manufacturing and industry in the UK, saying: “our country needs your support to keep supply chains moving and key workers mobile, as well as to protect the economy as much as possible. Every business has a role to play in helping the country defeat coronavirus.”

At Ward we are closely following the advice and guidance from our national trade body, the British Metals Recycling Association, Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) and Public Health England.

The UK’s waste disposal sectors were deemed ‘critical’, which the (DEFRA) confirmed included the metal recycling industry. Likewise, BEIS has also pointed out that there is no requirement for a non-retail business to close.

For this reason, many recycling businesses including scrap metal firms have remained open. Wherever possible our employees are working from home but, as it was noted, certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work, including those involved in operating machinery.

The work being undertaken by operators collecting and delivering to yards, employees and maintenance engineers, is vital, not least for the continued production of metal food packaging and critical machinery, but also to ensure the steel mills receive a steady supply of scrap metal.

At Ward we have taken the following steps to avoid transmission of infection to our staff and suppliers, while delivering essential business services.

Business services:

  • All sites are now closed for general door trade metal deliveries – no door trade or public.
  • All sites are now accepting regular door trade customers/registered scrap collectors and businesses for ferrous metals only.
  • Non-ferrous deliveries will not be accepted.
  • Ward is not currently processing textiles.
  • Commercial waste collection services are running to service all business customers.
  • For home/business skip hire visit:

Safety measures implemented:

  • We are working with a reduced team of yard operatives on site
  • All our office staff are working from home
  • All employees must always maintain social distancing – stay 2 metres (6ft) away from others.
  • No more than one person is in the weighbridge offices at a time.
  • Gatherings of more than two people anywhere on site is prohibited.
  • Staff will not sign any paperwork.
  • Facilities will be unavailable on site to avoid any possible cross contamination.
  • Operatives on site must wear either their own PPE or purchase a set from WARD. No sharing of WARD protective equipment and PPE must not to be shared with other operatives. PPE must include, hard hat and high vis, gloves.

Things to consider:

Please note, the turn-around of metal deliveries may be slower due to the necessary human interaction restrictions.

  • Loads will only be accepted if the material can be tipped by the supplier’s own vehicle or if the material is loose, contained in containers/stillages that can be offloaded by mobile plant. We will not permit any loads with require manual handling by WARD staff.
  • Once the material is unloaded you will be required to weigh out, visit the weighbridge and leave site promptly. Funds will be placed in your account minimising any contact.
  • WARD reserves the right to turn away collectors if these policies cannot be followed.
  • Should you display any symptoms of Covid-19 we will ask you to leave our premises in order to protect those on site.

Keeping industry including recycling centres open is even more important given the nationwide closure of Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Closing yards and HWRCs could result in spikes in fly-tipping of waste, and the abandonment of end-of-life vehicles. It is essential that these items are processed in accordance with government environmental regulations, through licensed and responsible metal recycling yards.

We continue to review advice from the Government, Defra and the BMRA and we thank you for your support at this difficult time. We aim to resume normal service as soon as the Government adjusts its guidance.