The Yukon government has requested that all free stores and recycling depots close on or before April 1.
It’s being done to protect users and workers at waste facilities from the spread of COVID-19.
“Where possible, we are asking the public to clean and store recycling until services resume,” the government said Monday.
“Alternatively, put your recycling in your household waste. E-waste drop-offs at Raven Recycling and rural recycling depots will remain open during this time.”
Raven’s other services, and those of P & M Recycling in downtown Whitehorse, were suspended March 25 and March 23 respectively.
Meanwhile, the planned April 1 introduction of tipping fees at the waste facilities in Carcross, Tagish, Mount Lorne, Marsh Lake and Deep Creek will be delayed until recycling services resume.
Illegal dumping fines will rise on April 1.
Unlawful handling/disposing of solid waste is going up from $200 to $1,000. The sanction for littering is rising from $50 to $500.
“Increasing fines for offences under the Environment Act and the Solid Waste Regulations are needed because fines are out of date and too low to be a meaningful penalty,” the government said.
“The Government of Yukon has set significant penalties to discourage illegal dumping,” added Environment Minister Pauline Frost.
“There is no place for garbage and hazardous waste in our wild spaces, ditches or waterways.
“While these fines were planned to take effect before having to respond to COVID-19, we appreciate the extra diligence and effort from Yukoners to manage their waste legally and responsibly.
Some rural depots may have already closed. Users are advised to contact their local recycling depot to make sure they are open today.
Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling will continue to offer roadside collection of paper products only.
“Suspending recycling services is not something we would have hoped for,” said Community Services Minister John Streicker.
“However, we all need to take every measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.
“We encourage Yukoners to stay two metres apart from other people when they go to the dump, and to wash their hands thoroughly before and after their visit.
“Now is a great time to be creative about re-using your recyclables – for example, you could use egg cartons for seed trays as we get ready for spring gardening,” Streicker added.
If you are choosing to store your recycling until services resume, make sure it is in a cool, dry, indoor location, secure from wildlife.
Do not leave your refundable bottles or beverage containers at recycling depots.
“Choose to store them securely until recycling resumes or put them in your household garbage,” the government advised.
Some studies suggest that the coronavirus can live for up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.