The Town of Conception Bay South is continuing to keep its collection of recyclables on hold while the Covid-19 pandemic evolves.
Council views recycling as an important environmental responsibility, said Mayor Terry French, but out of an abundance of caution and safety, has decided to continue suspending the non-essential service for the time being.
“The coronavirus is having a devastating impact around the world. People continue to get sick every day and in some cases are dying. We are not isolated from that and are already seeing first-hand the devastating impacts of this deadly virus,” said the mayor. “As of today there are 28 individuals confirmed as having contracted Covid-19 in our Town, with many more awaiting test results or staying at home in self-isolation. Council is concerned with these large numbers and the rapid pace with which the virus can spread. While the risk of the virus spreading through the physical handling of recycling bags may not be significant, given the potentially devastating implications of continued growth, it is not a risk we are prepared to take.”
Two more cases of Covid in CBS were reported after French made those remarks.
Under the Town’s recycling program, an employee is required to physically lift the recycling bag and place it into the recycling vehicle, noted the mayor. As the virus can survive on surfaces for 24 hours or longer, the staff who collect the recycling would need to wear an appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“The proper level of PPE required to support recycling is certainly a matter of debate and interpretation,” French allowed. “However, supplies of PPE are very short across the country, and Conception Bay South only has access to a limited supply. We cannot justify, nor are we prepared to redirect supplies to a non-essential service, when they may be needed in the not too distant future for critical services, such as frontline emergency response or close quarter repairs to vital infrastructure.”
French said the Town would like to thank residents for their cooperation and understanding. The Town will continue to monitor developments with regards to recycling and will adapt its position as additional information becomes available, he added. The Town considered other options, including a drop-off facility, noted the mayor, but opted against it due to social distancing concerns. Meanwhile, staff will continue to explore other ways to provide the service in a safe manner, he said.