South Tyneside Council is trialling extended opening hours at its popular Recycling Village.
Due to a recent spike in usage following a spell of glorious weather, the Council temporarily opened the site in South Shields one hour earlier, from 8am, to help meet immediate demand for the service and remained open earlier over the Bank Holiday period.
However, from Monday 14 May, the 8am to 6pm opening times will continue to run every day, for a trial period.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We have been experiencing unprecedented levels of usage at the Recycling Village over recent weeks. This was due to a dramatic change in temperatures, which saw many more people visiting over a short space of time. Regrettably this had a huge impact on visitors and businesses on Middlefields Industrial Estate.
"We want to assure people that we are committed to doing everything we can to alleviate the problems with traffic queues on the site and help to reduce the impact this has on local businesses.
"To address the immediate demand, we opened the site one hour earlier and are now set to continue with these hours for at least until the next bank holiday weekend. We will be closely monitoring visitor numbers and usage during this time.
"The Recycling Village plays an important part in our recycling infrastructure. For this reason, we are investigating how our current operating centres can be improved or extended over the longer term to improve residents' experience and reduce waiting times."
As well as extending the opening hours for a trial period, the Council is looking at how changes could be made to the road layout and markings to the feeder lane at the site entrance to help reduce the number of cars queuing outside the Recycling Village.
A camera, which would feed directly to the Council's website enabling residents to view when the site is particularly busy, is also being considered, as well as ways to speed up the removal of waste from vans and larger vehicles as these carry large amounts of waste and take a long time to unload.
The Council is already in discussions with businesses on the estate to consider some resolutions to access, traffic flow and potential changes to car parking arrangements.
The Recycling Village is open every day (except Christmas Day).
Councillor Smith added: "Increasing the amount of waste we recycle is extremely important to us. As such we are always exploring ways to make it easier for people to dispose of and recycle more of their waste.
"Unlike in some other parts of the country, we also continue to provide a service every day.
"However we still continue to encourage people to avoid visiting at peak periods wherever possible, with quieter times to visit between 9:30am and 11am and after 4pm on weekdays."
For further information about the Recycling Village call the Council's Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 424 7000or visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling