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Thu 4 February 2021:
Your regular update from Reading Borough Council on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can help
A message from Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock

The infection rate in Reading is still going down, and is now at 390.7 per 100,000 population (as at 29 January) having stood at 555.1 a week before, with a drop every day since then.

Please do ensure you self-isolate properly if you have symptoms or are requested to by the NHS Test & Trace service, and continue to get vaccinated when you are contacted for your appointment.

On that subject, I’m pleased to hear that my esteemed friend and colleague, Cllr Gul Khan, recently had his vaccine. He has recorded a short video message in English, and also in Urdu, encouraging everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to take it when it is offered to them by the NHS.

You can find out more about vaccination and self-isolation on the relevant pages of the NHS website.

Some really positive news in Reading is that, despite the many challenges posed by COVID-19, we have successfully launched new weekly food waste collections for over 50,000 households this week, and the response from residents has been excellent. On the first day alone, this Monday, our crews collected 25 tonnes - more than double what we originally estimated!

Please join in and use the service, putting your food waste bin out next to your waste or recycling bin each week. It is a new service so please bear with us over the next few weeks as we settle in to a routine – if a collection is missed we will be back for it, and you can report a missed collection here. Please also remember that around 80% of residents have had a change to their collection day, so if you are unsure of yours you can look it up here.

This minute-long animation sums up exactly how to make use of the food waste service, and the benefits of doing so, and if you still have questions hopefully our list of frequently asked questions below will help.



Looking forward, we have also launched a video showing what the new leisure facilities located at Rivermead and Palmer Park will look like, including the building of two modern new swimming pools. The applications are due to be considered in March. For more information about the improvements visit www.reading.gov.uk/newleisure.

We know that the impact of lockdown, and the inevitable periods of self-isolation that people are undergoing, are having a profound impact on people’s morale and mental wellbeing. I’d like to remind everyone of the support offered by our One Reading Community Hub. If you are isolating because you or a member of your family has coronavirus, and you are struggling – don’t forget you can contact the Hub for help with urgent food and prescription needs, getting a priority supermarket delivery slot, or other issues such as debt, loneliness, stress and anxiety. Go to the Hub's webpage here or call the Hub on 0808 189 4325.

Finally, we are supporting the Government's Act Early campaign to encourage people to share concerns if they worry a friend or loved one might be vulnerable to radicalisation. The increase in time spent online due to COVID-19 is creating an environment in which young and vulnerable people are at a greater risk of being targeted and groomed by people who wish to do harm. It can be hard to know what to do if you're worried someone close is expressing extreme views or hatred. We're working with the police and other organisations to protect vulnerable people from being exploited. The box below gives more details on what to do if you are worried about someone. 

WISE UP TO WASTE WITH OUR NEW WEEKLY
FOOD WASTE RECYCLING SERVICE

Up to 41% of household waste is food waste. You can recycle this at home with your weekly food waste collection.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about the weekly food waste recycling scheme which began this week:

Has my bin day changed?
Around 80% of residents now have a new collection day, so that your food waste can be collected on the same day as your recycling and household waste. You can look up your collection day on our online bin calendar.

Why are you making this change?
Up to 41% of the household rubbish put into our grey bins in Reading is food waste. This often ends up in landfill where it rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. When recycled, food waste can be turned into fertiliser for farming and energy. It’s also cheaper – every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of sending it to landfill it saves £100.
 
How will it work?
Food waste will be collected weekly on the same day as your household waste and recycling bins. Place your outside food waste bin at the edge of your property with your household waste or recycling bin by 6am. Your food waste will be collected by a different vehicle and at a different time of the day.
 
Flats with communal bins should empty bags from their caddy into a larger outdoor communal food waste bin which is black with a blue lid. The communal food waste bin will be emptied weekly.
 
What can I put in my food waste bin?
You’ll be able to put all forms of cooked and uncooked food in your food waste bin including fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, rice, pasta, bread, dairy, eggs and egg shells, plate and bowl scrapings and tea and coffee bags and grounds. Used cooking oil in a sealed plastic bottle can be placed inside your food waste bin.

Why am I being given a smaller bin?
As part of our programme of activity to increase Reading’s recycling rate to 50%, we’re swapping 240 litre grey bins for 140 litre bins. Analysis shows that up to 41% of the waste put in grey non-recycling bins is food waste and around 18% could have been put in the red recycling bins or taken to bottle or textile banks. Research across the country shows that higher recycling rates are achieved where the residual (grey bin) waste capacity is reduced, because it encourages people to maximise the items they sort for recycling.

When will my bin be swapped for a smaller one?
Bin swapping has already started and will continue to take place over the next few months.
 
What if I need more bin capacity?
Your red recycling bin will remain 240 litres. You can order extra red recycling bins for free if you need them and you will have your food waste bin and kitchen caddy. The new 140 litre black non-recycling bins will hold around three black sacks of rubbish. This should be enough for most households who recycle all that they can through the weekly food waste collections and fortnightly recycling collections.
 
We can provide extra waste capacity in some circumstances and will consider each case individually. You can apply for extra waste capacity so that we can assess your needs. If approved, we will provide you with RBC branded white sacks which you can put out with your grey bin on collection day.
 
What happens to the food waste?
We will collect the food waste from your food waste bin on a weekly basis. The waste will be taken to the re3 recycling centre and then on to the Severn Trent recycling plant where it is turned into fertiliser for farming and energy. So the new service will turn food waste from a problem into a resource.
 
What liners should I use in my food waste caddy?
We will provide you with liners when we deliver your food waste containers but if you run out, you can use anything from old shopping bags to bread, cereal, crisp or salad bags, a sheet of newspaper or buy bags on a roll such as pedal bin liners or compostable liners. Please don’t use black bin bags or other food packaging.

What happens to the liners?
When the food waste is taken to the recycling plant, the bags and liners (including compostable ones) are removed at the beginning of the recycling process and are used to generate electricity.  
 
You can find out more about the weekly food waste collection scheme, including more frequently asked questions, on our webpage here.
ACT EARLY TO HELP PREVENT RADICALISATION


We are working with the police and other organisations to protect vulnerable people from being exploited by extremists, through a Home Office programme called Prevent.

Prevent’s ‘Act Early’ campaign is there to provide guidance to people on what they can do to help avoid this happening, including the signs they should look out for which could indicate a person being led towards extremism such as:
  • Spending an increasing amount of time online and sharing extreme views on social media
  • An obsessive or angry desire for change or ‘something to be done’
  • Mental health issues
  • Need for identity, meaning and belonging
  • Looking to blame others
  • Being influenced or controlled by a group.
For more on what signs you should be looking out for and what you can do to help, go to the Act Early website.

If you do have any concerns about someone around you, you can call the national police Prevent advice line on 0800 011 3764, in confidence, to talk to specially trained Prevent officers. The advice line is open 9am – 5pm every day.
KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST COVID-19 RESPONSE NEWS FROM READING BOROUGH COUNCIL

With the latest advice and service information changing regularly, you can keep up to date by following our dedicated page to the Covid-19 response here: https://www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (links below) for regular updates.
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