Lorry driver shortage causes waste-collection woe

The news comes as supermarket bosses warn of supply chain disruption over the Christmas period

Driver shortage waste collection rubbish HGV crisis

The ongoing national lorry driver shortage has resulted in several independent retailers being hit with missed waste collections.

Supply-chain issues were first reported in June, caused by a lack of lorry drivers, due to the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

However, they have since continued, with stores battling product shortages and availability gaps.

One Stop retailer and owner of two stores in Derbyshire Dee Sedani told Better Retailing his waste-collection issues started last week, and he is concerned about the continuing effect.

“My waste collection company is Biffa, and I’ve just had to pile up the bags at the back of the shop. I’ve been told it’s due to Covid-19 and a shortage of drivers.

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“It’s only just started, but I’m worried it could be a sign of things to come.”

Mike Nicholls, owner of Costcutter Dringhouses in York, said his collections, also by Biffa, had been “hit-and-miss recently”. He added: “I think a lot of companies are struggling with staff shortages.”

According to the most recent guidance on priortising waste collections from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), councils facing problems regarding the collection of trade waste should “provide frequency service to low-volume, low-risk customers”, and “let businesses know how often and when waste will be collected”.

Transport and environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association councillor David Renard confirmed to Better Retailing that while most councils had been able to keep collections running, some had been forced to reduce services, and would continue to do so if the driver shortage worsened.

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“These issues are partly due to the problems with a shortage of HGV drivers,” he said.

“We want to work with the government to address these short-term staffing issues to ensure people across the country can continue to receive the services they rely upon.”

Supermarket bosses from Tesco and Iceland have both warned supply chain disruption could continue over the key Christmas period.

Independent retailers previously told Better Retailing they were relying on supplier relationships made during the pandemic to source lines they were having trouble securing, as well as visiting different cash and carries.

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