HRCs during COVID19 - Important Information

Please note, the Recycling Centres will be closed on the May Bank Holiday, Monday 25 May 2020

Council Reopens Household ‘RECYCLING’ Centres, Not ‘DUMPS’

The Northern Ireland Executive updated the Covid-19 regulations on 14 May to include trips to Household Recycling Centres as a reason for essential travel.

In response, Ards and North Down Borough Council opened its three largest household recycling centres on Monday 18 May. Opening hours as follows:

  • Balloo HRC, Bangor - 7 days a week; Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am to 6pm
  • North Road HRC, Newtownards - Monday to Friday, 3pm to 8pm and Saturday, 9am to 4pm. Closed Sunday.
  • Comber HRC - Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Unfortunately at this time we cannot open further HRCs in the Borough for safety and operational reasons during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the requirement to maintain clear access to the Council’s waste collections depot at North Road during the working day and deploy additional HRC staff that will be required to implement Covid-19 safety precautions, HRC opening hours at North Road and Comber HRCs will be split across the day as indicated.

Please note, the gates close on each site 15 minutes before the stated closing times so please plan your journey accordingly. Any vehicles remaining on site will be able to finish off and leave the site by the closing time.

We will be operating strict social distancing measures so please note:

  • A limited number of vehicles will be allowed onto each site at any one time.
  • You will have to queue for access - at peak times queues may be very long and we would ask you to be patient
  • Our staff will not be able to help you to lift your recycling from your car to the appropriate containers.  If you need help offloading, please bring another person with you.

NB: only two people per vehicle will be allowed access.

  • When offloading please keep at least 2-metres distance between you and other users/employees. 
  • Once onsite, we would ask you to limit your visit to 5 minutes – to assist others waiting to get access. 
  • There will be no pedestrian access – entry in a vehicle only.

Covid-19 does not stop our commitment to STAND for Sustainability. All the established rules to promote recycling at our HRCs will still apply – remember, they are ‘recycling’ centres; not ‘dumps’!

  • Full recycling participation will be required and disposal of recyclable waste in landfill skips will not be permitted. From week commencing 25 May 2020, all HRC visitors will be required to retrieve blue bin recyclable waste items and glass bottles/jars from any black bags they wish to dispose of in landfill skips, and place them in the blue bins/glass caddies provided beside the skips.
  • We will have increased capacity for mixed dry recyclable materials (items that go into the blue bin). So if you have extra such blue bin materials for disposal keep them separate and put them into the blue bins at the HRC.  DO NOT PUT BLUE BIN RECYCLABLES IN THE LANDFILL SKIPS.
  • Cars, and cars with small single axle trailers, will be permitted with the full range of materials normally accepted at our HRCs.
  • Vans or large trailers (larger than single axle) require a permit for access as usual.  Because of current restrictions, permits are only available in electronic format. Please telephone 0300 013 3333 and press option 3 to speak to an operator. An application form and details of what is required in order to process your application will then be sent out to you. Permit requests that have been submitted by email are currently being processed as quickly as possible.
  • You must sort your waste before you come to the site. A bit of extra time at home will save you a lot of extra time on site – and this benefits everyone – especially during the current crisis.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you bring ID as proof of residency in the Borough e.g. Driving Licence, Utility Bill showing address.  Show this to attendant through the CLOSED car window at entrance to site.

We know many residents will welcome our sites reopening to help them manage increased levels of domestic waste due to more people being at home full-time.

BUT please remember the NI Executive and PHA message remains “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”.

You should ONLY travel to an HRC if it is essential e.g. if storing the waste at home presents a health and safety risk.

Our full kerbside collection services continue to operate and if used to their full potential, should be sufficient to allow you to manage your waste at home in the short to medium term. If you have to visit one of our HRCs, remember:

  • Sort your waste before you leave the house - separate all recyclables from non-recyclable (landfill) waste items.
  • Be prepared to queue
  • Maintain social distancing when onsite
  • You will not be allowed to dispose of recyclable waste in landfill skips.
  • If you are self-isolating or have symptoms of COVID-19 DO NOT come to our sites under any circumstances.

Please respect our staff and the instructions they give you. We will take a zero tolerance approach to any verbal or physical abuse and will report any incidents to the PSNI.

We will keep these arrangements under regular review in the coming weeks and would advise you to check back for the latest information and guidance before making a trip to one of our sites.

Frequently asked questions

Why have only three centres (Bangor, Newtownards and Comber) been chosen to reopen?

The Household Recycling Centres s at Bangor, Newtownards and Comber are the three largest sites. Their size and location means that they are best suited for us to operate in line with the restrictions placed on us by the COVID19 pandemic.

These three sites will allow for the necessary social distancing requirements within the sites, but also traffic management outside of them. Their size will help provide a continuity of service, as the skips and containers can be serviced throughout the day without the need to close the sites to the public.

When will my local site reopen?

At this time we cannot confirm reopening dates of additional HRCs as it is not possible to open further HRCs in the Borough for safety and operational reasons during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The opening of other sites in the borough is being kept under review but a phased reopening of the HRCs will be necessary.

The majority of Councils across the UK are only opening selected sites so Ards and North Down Borough Council is not alone in keeping smaller sites closed for now.

Why are the HRCs at Newtownards and Comber not open for full days?

Due to the requirement to maintain clear access to the Council’s waste collections depot at North Road during the working day and to deploy the additional HRC staff that will be required to implement Covid-19 safety precautions, HRC opening hours at North Road and Comber HRCs will be split across the day as indicated.

Won’t there be big queues when the HRCs reopen?

Yes, we anticipate that the three centres will be extremely busy when they reopen.

We will be deploying extra staff not only within the HRC sites but also outside to help with traffic management.

Please consider if your journey is absolutely essential.

The NI Executive and PHA message remains “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”. Residents should ONLY travel to an HRC if it is essential e.g. if storing the waste at home presents a health and safety risk.

Ards and North Down Borough Council has maintained a full kerbside collection service throughout the pandemic to date and we urge all our residents to continue to use this to the maximum capacity for their individual households.

Are there any restrictions to the type of waste that I can bring to the HRCs?

Ards and North Down Borough Council has maintained a full kerbside collection service throughout the pandemic to date and we urge all our residents to continue to use this to the maximum capacity for their individual households.

We ask that you please respect the guidance given by the NI Executive and Public Health Agency to “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”.

Residents should ONLY travel to an HRC if it is essential e.g. if storing the waste at home presents a health and safety risk.

If you absolutely must travel to one of our HRCs, the three open sites will be accepting the usual waste streams.

Balloo Recycling Centre - What you can recycle

Garden waste, wood and timber, scrap metal, fridges and freezers, large appliances, small appliances, TVs and monitors, portable batteries, car batteries, used engine oil, cooking oil, fluorescent tubes, paint, paint reuse, mixed glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, mixed paper, food and drink cans, ink cartridges, textiles, books, gas bottles, reuse container, plasterboard, rubble, carpet, mattresses and cardboard.

Newtownards Recycling Centre – What you can recycle

Garden waste, wood and timber, scrap metal, fridges and freezers, large appliances, small appliances, TVs and monitors, portable batteries, car batteries, used engine oil, cooking oil, fluorescent tubes, paint, paint reuse, mixed glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, mixed paper, food and drink cans, textiles, carpets, mattresses, books, gas bottles and cardboard.

Comber Recycling Centre – What you can recycle

Garden waste, wood and timber, scrap metal, fridges and freezers, large appliances, small appliances, TVs and monitors, portable batteries, car batteries, used engine oil, cooking oil, fluorescent tubes, paint, paint reuse, mixed glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, mixed paper, food and drink cans, textiles, carpets, mattresses, books, gas bottles and cardboard.

If disposing of an old oil tank, please note that it must be drained and cut in half before bringing to the HRC.

Why do I need a van permit?

The van permit system has been in operation since January 2018. This has not changed.

Vans or large trailers (larger than single axle) require a permit for access as usual. Because of current restrictions, permits are only available in electronic format.

Please telephone 0300 013 3333 and press option 3 to speak to an operator. An application form and details of what is required in order to process your application will then be sent out to you. Permit requests that have been submitted by email are currently being processed as quickly as possible.

Will the bulky waste collection service begin again soon?

It is not possible at this time to restart the bulky waste collection service. This will be kept under review and any updates will be posted to our website and social media channels.