For people whose bottles and other recyclables have been piling up for the past few weeks, some relief is on the way.
The Courtenay Return-It is reopen as of Monday, May 4, to accept materials. The Puntledge Road outlet will be operating at reduced hours but will be accepting both bottles and other recycling items. The Courtenay depot will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, which will give staff extra time during the morning and afternoon to clean and disinfect the site.
The depot says it has brought in a number of changes aimed at protecting the health and safety of staff and customers. They have added Plexiglas at the cash register counter and fluorescent tape on the floor to demarcate six-foot distances between tables and the waiting area along with arrows to guide people.
Staff will disinfect carts and tables after each use, with more frequent cleaning of trays as well, and they have been provided with gloves and masks.
As far as the entrance to the building, the depot will use the front door for entry, with a staff person on hand to limit the number of customers inside at any one time. This will allow for space so customers can meet physical distancing requirements. The side door is being used as the exit for customers.
“Customers are encouraged to clean their bottles and sort as much as possible at their homes, and outside in our parking lot,” Emily Kim of Courtenay Return-It said in an email to the Record.
The number of sorting tables in the depot has been reduced, with tables moved around to ensure the six-foot distancing provisions.
There is still no direction as far as other Return-It locations in the area, such as Comox, Campbell River and Quadra Island. The Return-It website shows the Denman Island site as operating for three days a week. (A recent story mistakenly listed Hornby Island instead of Quadra Island.)
Comox Strathcona Waste Management also operates recycling facilities, though not for certain items including bottles and glass. It is in the process of closing four unstaffed bin sites around the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional district areas due to cost of operations and a high rate of contamination from unacceptable items entering the recycling stream at the bins.