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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, March 29, 2020

As might be expected, the coronavirus is not only acutely affecting our daily lives, but also the recycling industry. As if you aren’t getting enough talk about it from TV, radio and articles in newspapers, here’s a little more.

This was from an article titled “Coronavirus pandemic disrupts recycling sector” in the recent Resource Recycling newsletter.

The article started by stating how the global escalation of COVID-19 is hampering some North American recycling programs, then went on to explain how some cities and companies are reacting. It mentioned that although a vast majority of municipalities have not made changes to their recycling services at this time, the impact of the virus is being felt in programs around the country.

For example, Salt Lake City officials are continuing to ensure garbage, recycling and compost containers are collected as usual. However, in some other communities, decisions have been made to adjust or suspend recycling collection, or gear up for potential disruptions.

One such city is Dalton, Georgia. It stopped its collection service for 2 weeks beginning March 16. Its reasoning was, because curbside recycling pickup requires sorting by hand and there are many unknowns about how the virus spreads from surface to surface.

And in Washington state, where the first death from the virus occurred, Tacoma advised its citizens due to the impact of the coronavirus there could be changes in the collection schedule for both residential and commercial customers. If changes were necessary, garbage pick-up would continue to have priority over other services such as recycling and yard waste.

Going to California, its Eureka facility temporarily closed its recycling center to comply with social distancing recommendations from local and federal officials. This closure means its residents can not redeem containers for their deposit value.

A recycling center in Ohio has suspended drop-off recycling due to concerns over workers coming into contact with contaminated medical waste. And in Athens, Alabama, curb-side recycling has been stopped due to a shortage of workers. It seems, the contractor employs inmates at its recycling center, and with the state restricting movement in and out of correctional facilities, the center no longer has enough staff.

Similar examples were given for recycling efforts in Michigan, Iowa, New Jersey, Oregon, Kentucky, Tennessee and British Columbia. The article also went into the effects it is having on some of our industries and in China.

The article listed 20 or more various conferences and events that have either been cancelled or delayed until a later date. Some of them pertained to municipal recycling, plastics recycling and electronics recycling industries.

Enough of what is happening in other places, in our community, just be sure to wash your hands often for 20 seconds — it’s longer than you think so I am now using the second hand on a wall clock to insure. Avoid crowds, and try to keep 6 feet away from others — not that easy to do in the somewhat narrow isles of stores, although some like H-E-B. are restricting how many

customers can be in the store at any one time which is very helpful.

Till next week, do have the best one possible under these trying conditions.


Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432.

San Marcos Record

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