Keeping garbage collectors safe during pandemic

A hard-sided garbage can. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle.)

The City of London is asking residents to do their part to help garbage and recycling collectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While garbage and recycling collection is continuing under its normal schedule, there are steps that residents can take to help protect collectors from potentially being exposed to the virus. The city is asking people to make sure they put all tissues and napkins in sealed bags before placing them in garbage bags. If someone in your house is not feeling well, you are asked to put any items that came into contact with their mouth, nose, or eyes into a bag and then into the garbage. This includes items like water bottles, juice boxes, and milk cartons that are normally put into your blue box.

Londoners are being asked, for the time being, to not put large items like furniture or mattresses at the curb. The city said it’s also important to maintain distance from garbage collectors.

Temporary changes have also been made to policies at the EnviroDepots in London. City council passed a motion this week to waive the $1.50 per bag fee for garbage drop off at the Oxford Street West, Clarke Road South, and Clarke Road North facilities. This will allow residents who need to dispose of bagged garbage beyond the three container limit to do so at one of the depots free of charge. However, the City is asking people to try to avoid using the depots if possible. Instead, it is asking people to store extra garbage and yard waste for as long they are able.

City officials said theĀ Household Special Waste Depot located at the Manning Road landfill site has been closed until further notice.

“An increase in large trucks and a reduction in staff resources due to COVID-19 requires additional on-site health and safety measures be implemented. The only way to safely protect the public is to not permit them access inside the site,” a statement from the city said. “Residents are asked to continue to store household special waste items safely at home. Do not place these items in the garbage.”

The yard waste collection that was scheduled to begin in the Westmount, Byron, and Oakridge areas on Monday, March 30 will go ahead.