RECYCLING collections will restart on a once a month basis after Easter, it has been announced.

Colchester Council was forced to halt collections of glass, cans, plastics, paper and card due to staffing issues and new social distancing guidelines designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Additional recruitment means the council is now in a position to get recycling pick ups up and running again from next week, however they will be on a four weekly basis for the time being.

Black bags will be continue to be picked up every two weeks and food waste every week.

Martin Goss, councillor responsible for waste, environment and transportation, said: "Our previous decision to suspend all of our recycling collections, except food waste, was difficult but absolutely necessary to keep this critical service going with reduced resource and protecting our staff by adhering to the Government’s self-distancing guidelines.

“A huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes to increase recycling collections again, but we need to ensure that any changes to the service are done in a sustainable way and that our staff and communities are protected, and Government guidelines are followed.

“To help our residents, we have said households can put an additional black bag of rubbish when their bi-weekly rubbish collection is due, and today’s announcement means monthly collections for cans, glass, plastics, paper and card can start after the Easter weekend, which is significant step forward under the current circumstances."

Temporary limits of six recycling sacks and two green boxes are being put in place for residents.

Collection days will remain the same but a new temporary calendar has been produced to advise residents of what waste will be collected when.

Council leader Mark Cory added: "We appreciate the patience of all residents during this difficult time. Our focus remains on protecting people, we must all follow the government advice and not spread the virus.

"I would like to thank everyone who has been helping us to keep this critical service going during these difficult and unprecedented times.

"Our staff are doing a great job collecting food waste and black bags from over 82,000 households in the borough.

"Even with the current temporary recycling limits, we will still be collecting approximately half a million recycling containers and bags every week."

Garden and textile waste collections remain suspended for the foreseeable future.