Yukoners asked to hang onto recyclables during COVID-19 pandemic

Some Yukon recycling facilities are asking people to hold onto their recyclables in the coming weeks. Many facilities have closed or are limiting their services during the COVID-19 pandemic.In Whitehorse, both P & M Recycling and Raven Recycling stopped accepting bottles and other refundables after the news on Sunday evening that two people in the city tested positive for COVID-19. Both organizations cited the risk to their staff and the users."It was a tough decision to make, but the right one," said Pat McInroy of P & M, in an email to CBC. Raven's executive director Joy Snyder said she planned to stop accepting refundables as of this Friday, but COVID-19 in Yukon changed everything."We felt it was much more prudent and more responsible to the community to act right away," Snyder said.She said the outdoor bins for household recyclables are closing at the end of business hours Tuesday.Snyder said the e-waste drop off area will remain open. She said the government is concerned people would otherwise dump electronics containing hazardous wastes at landfills.She is also making a plea to the public to not take refundables and recyclables to the landfill, but rather hang onto them for the time being."In two or three months we'll be open, we'll be ready for business and we can start to collect their stuff," she said.The City of Whitehorse also sent a news release on Tuesday asking residents to store their recyclables for now, "either in your house, garage or shed."If people cannot store the material, the city says it will now accept recyclables in its regular curbside garbage collection.In Dawson City, the Conservation Klondike Society is also asking users to hang onto their recyclables for now. The society closed its refund depot last week."With much thought and consideration of the current events arising from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel we are going to need to close our depot to the public until we know it is safe to re-open," the society announced on its Facebook page."We have vulnerable people living in our households on our board and people who are very dear to us. We do not want to risk their health at this time nor to the health of the community at large. We love you Dawson!"Some community facilities still operatingIn Watson Lake, recycling and refundables are still accepted at the landfill, said the town's chief administrative officer, Cam Lockwood.He said people bringing containers to cash in are asked to place them on a counter and then step back to a safe distance. A staff member then counts the containers and puts the cash down on the counter.The Village of Teslin says on its website that recycling has been identified as one of its essential services and continues normal operations.Haines Junction is not accepting refundables and has suspended curbside pickup of recylables. Its website says bins for recyclables at the landfill remain open.Faro's recycling and refundable program is operated by a private contractor. The town's chief administrative officer, John Thomas, said it continues to operate.Most of the recycling programs in Yukon's unincorporated communities are run by the territorial government. A spokesperson says it expects to release information Wednesday about those operations.One exception is the Mount Lorne Transfer Station. It posted in a statement on its Facebook page Saturday that the "free store" there is closed and refunds no longer provided. Its recycling and garbage services are still open, but users are asked to drop off their material and then depart quickly.

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