SWRC Blog: Pandemic Update - well, for the next 20 minutes anyway :)

SWRC Blog: Pandemic Update - well, for the next 20 minutes anyway :)

Like most of you, the SWRC staff has shifted to working at home. Our last holdout gave up yesterday after the City started restricting the routes she could take to walk to the office. It’s a strange world out there.

In Saskatchewan, waste collection and disposal has been deemed an essential service. An uptick in the amount of garbage collected was easy to anticipate with most people staying home. Some communities switched early from winter bi-weekly back to weekly collection to accommodate the increased amounts.

Local recycling programs
Most communities are continuing to collect curbside recyclables. While relaying instructions to residents on how to handle waste and recycling during the pandemic, recyclers have also been reinforcing the messages of putting the right materials in the bin and keeping materials free of food residue and other contamination. Maybe the new normal will include a cleaner recycling stream and a more conscientious public. We can only hope.

Some recyclers are concerned about their ability to move out the materials they’ve collected, as shipping priorities adjust toward products deemed essential right now. Stockpiling will definitely happen. Not being able to market recycling is not new, given the state of recycling markets before all this started, but the pandemic has changed things even more. For a comprehensive look at how the changing dynamic for recycling programs and markets in North America, check out Resource Recycling’s Covid site.

Provincial recycling programs
SARCAN closed its depots March 21st. Residential options for beverage containers, besides finding a place to temporarily store them, include putting them in curbside recycling or finding charities willing to stock pile them.

Without SARCAN, there are fewer options for recycling electronics and paint. Most retail locations that normally accept electronics have stopped. Landfills and transfer stations that have an electronics drop-off are the best option, although people should always check first.

Wannabe paint recyclers have only stockpiling as their solution, since any retailers have suspended collections and the April round of Household Hazardous Waste Events have been cancelled. Alternatively, all this time at home could inspire people to get creative with their leftover paint :).

Farmers and residents wanting to recycling antifreeze and used oil materials will need to call to check, since some retailers have suspended their voluntary collections.

Even London Drugs, our favourite voluntary recycler, has stopped its recycling programs. Thrift stores have stopped accepting donations of household items as well.

…. who knows what the next 20 minutes will bring … take care and be safe.