Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

VIRUS FORCES A SHUTDOWN – Joy Snyder, seen this morning at the fenced-off Raven Recycling Centre, says most services at the Industrial Road facility, including the outdoors drop-off bins, have been suspended indefinitely.

COVID-19’s arrival closes recycling centres

The Raven Recycling Society closed its gates this morning, halting intake and temporarily laying off 15 staff members.

By Gabrielle Plonka on March 25, 2020

The Raven Recycling Society closed its gates this morning, halting intake and temporarily laying off 15 staff members.

Joy Snyder, Raven’s executive director, said Tuesday afternoon she and Pat McInroy of P&M Recycling made a joint decision to close indefinitely after last Sunday night’s announcement that COVID-19 has reached the territory.

“That type of decision-making is what’s been happening for a couple weeks now,” Snyder told the Star.

“You’re making these quick decisions with no real information; just what I feel in my gut, I think this is right. It’s a crazy time.”

P&M closed its downtown facility Monday, laying off eight staff members.

Limited staff remain at Raven to continue to offer some services.

Electronic waste drop-offs will continue with reduced hours. Commercial cardboard will still be accepted from local businesses and the communities.

Like most of the non-essential Whitehorse business community, Snyder is unable to estimate a reopening date.

She advises Yukoners to store their refundables and other household recycling in a cool, dry place, to keep items from moldering. It’s important to store recycling inside, where wildlife won’t be attracted to it, she noted. 

“If (Yukoners) store their refundables and bring a big load to P&M and Raven, that would really help us get started, a strong start,” Snyder said.

All of Raven’s staff members have been promised their jobs when the recycling depot re-opens.

“We let them know it was temporary, we remain in contact with them and tell them what’s going on,” Snyder said.

Raven’s government contracts and e-waste services will bring some revenue to the non-profit during closure.

“Like any mid-size business in a small town, you have to have your fingers in a lot of different pots, so we still have our fingers in some pots,” Snyder said.

“It will go down to a skeletal staff, but we will keep our cash flow rolling.”

The Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling collection service is no longer collecting containers and glass, due to the closures of Raven and P&M. Paper stream collection services will continue.

More services may be suspended in the future, the collection service said in a release.

“These are difficult decisions, but ultimately, we hope these and the other measures being taken in this community will result in daily life returning to normal more quickly for everyone,” said a statement from Taylor Tiefenbach of Blue Bin Recycling.

The City of Whitehorse is encouraging Yukoners to store recyclables in a house, garage or shed.

If residents are unable to safely store them, they can include them with the rest of their garbage in their black curbside carts.

The city will now collect refundable beverage containers, plastic, tin, Styrofoam, paper, and cardboard as garbage.

Myles Dolphin, a city spokesman, said Tuesday afternoon that taking recyclables directly to the landfill is not recommended.

“The City of Whitehorse treats this change as a temporary measure,” said a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

“We remain committed to waste diversion; however, the safety of the public and all workers is paramount.

Comments (3)

Up 0 Down 0

Zack on Apr 5, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Recycling drop off in the bins at Raven recycling should stay open as an essential service. All outdoor recycling is being handled by machines so there is minimal contact.

There currently is so much going into the garbage because of this decision. There slogan is not holding up “Our commitment is the environment”

Up 8 Down 8

Miles Epanhauser on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

I agree with JC.

With precautionary measures this facility can reopen immediately. Employees can weigh in on the measures and decide whether they accept the risk.
And i'ts time to get people back to work in the service industry within a few weeks.

I am in the vulnerable group and want to go to the gym and go for a meal or a beer. Sure, have seating restrictions but let's initiate social distancing business. Let's make Whitehorse open for business again.

Shuttering everything based on fear shuts down the fabric our lives.
Give it perhaps a week and slowly reverse this shutdown. We cannot sit idle for 6 months or a year.

Up 8 Down 9

JC on Mar 25, 2020 at 6:01 pm

"Temporary measure". Could they give us maybe a clue as to how long temporary might be? The great leader in Ottawa said this could drag out to 8 months or more. So, is it necessary to completely close? How about even one day a week. The staff could wear masks.

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