Used tissues and paper towels are to be thrown in the garbage and not in recycling – local garbage and recycling businesses want to remind people as the threat of COVID-19 carries on.
And they must be in a sealed bag before the garbage bin is put out for pickup.
Other than that it is business as usual for garbage and recycling pickup across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
AJM Disposal services Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Surrey and White Rock, they have instructed their crews not to touch or empty any garbage container where everything is not fully bagged and sealed.
“Anything that’s loose in the container, they are not to touch it,” said Joan Millard, office manager with the company.
“We’ve also instructed them if there is anything like that in the recycling container again not to touch the container and leave it,” she said of tissue and paper towels.
And, she said, to eliminate as much risk as they can, they are running the same teams together for collection. Crew members are also not allowed into their office building.
Nick Ali with Noble Disposal, that services Maple Ridge, Langley Township, Surrey and Abbotsford, also said pickup has not been affected. The only concern would be if the facility where they take their organic product to shuts down.
“Then we can’t pick up organics because then we have no place to dump it,” he said, adding that as long as the Vancouver Landfill and Transfer Station stay open and operating then his company will be completely functional.
Aaron Holm, operations manager with Captain Recycling, whose company used to service Maple Ridge but is now based in Aldergrove and Langley, said his teams are making sure they disinfect the trucks so they are safe for boarding.
He reechoed the need for people to make sure there is no loose garbage in their bins.
“It’s the people who are quarantined or are potentially showing symptoms or could have come in contact with people with symptoms, but all they need to do is make sure there is no loose garbage and everything is nice and secure and tied up and then just wipe down their bins when they put them out.
Workers at Pioneer Disposal, another company that services Maple Ridge, are equipped with regular and latex gloves as well as hand sanitizer.
“Our crews work alone and in open air and have limited contact with people except for the cans at the curb,” said Jonathan Tompke, CEO of the company.
Tompke said their office personnel have been set up to work remotely from home and if anyone reports being sick they will be expecting them to self quarantine.
“Pioneer Disposal views garbage disposal as an essential service which, during a local and global health crises, becomes all the more important to ensure that our communities stay clean and sanitary, especially at a time when clean and sanitary is required to such a degree,” he added.
Leanne Koehn with the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society said that if her pickup crews see tissues or paper towels in a household’s paper recycling it will not be picked up.
Koehn said that all of their workers wear gloves while doing pickups as well as at the depot. They have also stepped up the frequency of disinfecting at the depot and in the trucks.
And crews are following the recommended safety guidelines like washing their hands frequently, not touching their faces and practising social distancing.
They have temporarily suspended all depot sales including bicycles and books. If people want to purchase rain barrels, solar cone food digesters, or composters, they can still do so by filling out an online form on their website, paying by credit card, and they will deliver the item to the customer’s house.
Earth Day celebrations have been cancelled as well as the Repair Café planned for April 18.
The residential contact centers are temporarily closed at Waste Management, the company that services Pitt Meadows, as they actively coordinate remote operations for their employees, said a notice on their website.
However, their business contact centers remain open.
“Based on the available information, we are currently maintaining our standard collection service,” read the notice.