PEI

COVID-19 causing strain on garbage pickup, says Island Waste Management

The amount of waste being generated has increased as more people stay at home or self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management Corporation.

'We're finding people that may be taking an opportunity to renovate their home'

The Island Waste Management Corporation says it is dealing with a higher volume of curbside waste and that's having an impact on collection. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The amount of waste being generated has increased as more people stay at home or self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management Corporation.

"We're still, you know, collecting compost, waste and recyclables," he said. "But what's happening is, you know, people may be seeing an opportunity I guess with time on their hands to perhaps do some spring cleaning."

He said trucks are filling up faster than usual and more trips have to be made back to disposal facilities. He said people need to follow recommendations to make sure all households can receive collection.

"Some of these drivers are emptying 400, 500 carts a day under normal conditions and when people are putting out excess we are finding we are unable to complete the routes," Moore said.

'If you can hold material that typically you wouldn't be placing curbside … do that just so the drivers can complete their routes,' says Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management Corporation. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

The corporation is asking Islanders to follow the guidelines it has set out.

"If it's your black cart, we will take the contents of the black cart and also two plastic bags beside the carts, or additionally, for compost, two paper yard bags," Moore said.

There is a weight limit of 99.79 kilograms for bins and a limit of 22.67 kilograms for extra bags.

"If you can hold material that typically you wouldn't be placing curbside … do that just so the drivers can complete their routes," Moore said.

"We're finding people that may be taking an opportunity to renovate their home or ripping up carpet or doing some spring cleaning when they have time on their hands and there could be clothes and different items like that."

Spring cleaning pickup to come

Moore said the policy isn't new and he wants to remind people of it while most are sticking close to home.

"Some people are taking three, four, five and six bags next to their waste cart or compost cart," he said. 

"We will only be taking the two excess. We don't have the capacity for everybody to do that."

The corporation posted on Facebook reminding people of the limits on waste and compost pickup. (Island Waste Management Corporation/Facebook)

Additionally, Moore said if a bin isn't full, it would be better not to put it out and wait until it is full to drop it curbside.

Moore said the focus is collecting regular waste and if you don't need to place something out — hold on to it.

"If you have electronics or items like lights bulbs and used paint and that type of thing, we are not taking those into our sites at this point in time, but we will take them when the situation resolves."

Moore said the corporation does plan to have a spring cleaning pick up for those items at some point.

During the COVID-19 pandemic garbage will still be collected, but IWMC offices and contact centres will be closed to the public.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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