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Recycling programs pause during pandemic

Last Updated Apr 11, 2020 at 8:33 am PDT

(Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

Retailers aren't accepting recyclables anymore

Thrift stores are closed and even Return-It depots are limiting the material they normally accept

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You may have noticed it’s become harder to recycle items that can’t be put in our curbside recycling bins like plastics or Styrofoam.

A lot of recycling programs have been suspended during the pandemic.

For example, London Drugs has shut down its recycling counter, where shoppers could drop off Styrofoam, soft plastics, light bulbs, batteries and wrappers.

“Some of the return-to-retailers, they’ve paused a lot of their recycling programs right now for the health and safety of their employees and to focus on things like cleanliness and hygiene,” says Harvinder Aujala of the Recycling Council of BC.

She acknowledges it can be frustrating for people, especially as they are spring cleaning and need to get rid of stuff.

Metro Vancouver transfer stations are no longer accepting Styrofoam, and the station in Vancouver has suspended its clothes drop-off. Metro Vancouver insists people should only visit their depots if it’s absolutely necessary.

With thrift stores closed and charity clothing bins removed due to last year’s death, it’s been challenging to find ways to recycle old clothes.

“There are still a couple of bins that are accepting material. But we are really encouraging people that if you see a bin that’s full, please don’t leave any material around that bin,” says Aujala.

She points out Return-It depots are still operating to receive beverage containers, although they are also restricting the intake of other materials, such as electronics, as well.

But as with almost everything else, it’s still going to be a while before things are back to normal.

“Really, try if you can find a place in your home or garage where you can store these items until things have quieted down,” says Aujala.

Incidentally, the curbside recycling of kitchen plastics, paper, and glass is not interrupted.