Recycling Council of Alberta Update on Recycling Amidst COVID-19
March 26, 2020 – Members of the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) from multiple sectors, including municipalities, processors, haulers and small businesses, work hard to provide recycling, organics and waste management programs to Albertans. As the COVID-19 situation evolves and information circulates, the RCA will provide updates to our members and partners.
Recycling has been declared an essential service in regions within Canada and the United States. On March 23, Ontario closed at-risk workplaces and listed recycling as one of 74 essential services: “businesses that help ensure safe and effective waste management including deadstock, rendering, nutrient management, bio hazardous materials, green waste, packaging recycling” (Source: https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/list-of-essential-workplaces-2.html).
On March 25, Cascades Recovery+, a national waste diversion and sustainable solutions provider shared an update with customers that its operations have been deemed essential by governments. At this time Cascades plans to continue to operate its facilities across the country, including its Calgary materials recovery facility, and will take special preventive measures for the safety of employees. Other processing facilities, like the City of Lethbridge, remain open and have instituted special policies to ensure employee safety.
The RCA advocates for a Circular Economy, that includes ongoing delivery of recycling programs. We support decisions to ensure safety, but operations need to keep running to divert material from landfill and continue to meet the needs of manufacturers along the supply chain.
For municipalities that have temporarily closed their depots, the RCA encourages residents to prepare materials as instructed and store their recyclables in a dry place until sites open again. The City of Leduc has shared instructions for storing materials: https://www.leduc.ca/ecostation. Residents wanting more information should check their community websites for service updates in their region (including bottle depots). Organizations that accept donations, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Diabetes Canada, have asked that donations be held at home until the stores or collection locations reopen. Material left on the street or outside donation centres creates challenges for organizations and may not be recovered.
Other news and updates:
- During the crisis, the Leftovers Foundation in Calgary has:
- redirected food from 30+ new donors and another 30+ routine donors through its app
- rescued 21,900 lbs of food
- Welcomed over 150 new volunteers
- Provided much-needed food to 30+ local charities and service agencies
- For more info visit: https://rescuefood.ca/
- Some Alberta Beverage Container Collection Depots have temporarily suspended operations – check with your local depot and save your beverage containers to return at a later date!
- Alberta.ca has the latest updates on the virus: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx. It is not airborne and transmission is “from fresh droplets from people, not things,” Dr. Allison McGeer, Infectious Disease Consultant, Sinai Health System (Source: CBC News, https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1715476547762).
- The Canadian Association of Recycling Industries has shared a safety checklist for recycling operations. It is available on their website: https://www.cari-acir.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Safety-Guidelines.pdf
- For a recycling industry update in the United States: https://resource-recycling.com/recycling/2020/03/24/recycling-largely-steers-clear-of-mandates-shuttering-businesses/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=March+24+RR
We will continue to monitor updates as they evolve. For more information, please contact the RCA directly or visit the website, at recycle.ab.ca.
Recycling Council of Alberta