As they are able to ensure compliance with public health orders, Return-It depots across the province are starting to reopen.
The Campbell River Mirror reached out to Return-It after receiving a question from reader Carole Hillard wondering about how and when depots would be opening again, and what is being done with recyclable materials in the meantime.
According to Return-It president Allen Langdon, the depots are run by independent owners and operators and are licensed by Return-It, similar to chain restaurant licensing.
“At peak, we had about 86 depots closed. We’re now at as of yesterday 28, and we expect most of the depots to reopen either by mid-Mmay or by the end of the month,” he said, explaining that the decision to reopen is up to the individual depot.
“I think Campbell River has been taking the precautionary approach… Some of the considerations include the ability to manage social distancing compliance based on the size of the depot. Some have been able to do that more quickly than others,” he added.
For now, Return-It is providing depots with supports and tools to ensure people’s safety when they visit the depot. Langdon said the set up would be similar to how other businesses are open, with markings on the floor to encourage social distancing, and increased sanitation among staff.
“Any sort of small store, you see social distancing stickers or some sort of floor decal outlining where people should stand when waiting in line. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously, our depots are busy in the summer, so we’ll have to see how that works in the summer when depots get busier and more containers are coming in,” he said.
As for piles of recycling building up in people’s garages, Langdon expects to see some larger drop offs happening as things start to reopen. There may be some lineups at first, but as more depots open those will also decrease.
“There are for sure people who have been keeping containers,” he said. “If they have been home for two months, we expect that as weather improves and people start getting out more frequently then we’ll have consumers like that dropping off a large amount of containers at one time for sure.”
Some Return-it depots only take beverage containers. Others are more diverse, taking other paper and packaging materials as specified by Recycle BC. Campbell River’s location takes beverages and electronics.
Information on specific depots is available at Return-It’s website, which is updated regularly.