Covid Impacts – Recycling Program

COVID-19 has impacted our entire community and is now impacting our service providers. The Municipality of Colchester closed their Materials Recovery Facility at the end of March 24th due to concerns for staff health and safety. Since that time the Municipality of East Hants has continued to collect and store recyclables (blue bag materials) at our facility in Georgefield.

Due to the continued impacts of COVID-19 on operations and storage of recyclables throughout Nova Scotia reaching unsafe levels, the Minister of Environment has granted permission for landfills to dispose of recyclables, as needed.

East Hants Curbside Collection

There is no change for curbside collection services including recyclables. Residents have a few options they can consider related to recyclables:

  • Residents who can store recyclables should, this will reduce the chances of those materials going to landfill.
  • Residents who have limited storage options could opt to store their paper products (less chance of pests) and set curbside only the containers bags.
  • Residents are encouraged to store textiles that we normally received for recycling collection in separate bags and then donate to charities once those options reopen.

Curbside Sorting

While the Minister of Environment has approved landfilling of recyclables due to safety concerns please note:

  • Landfilling is a last resort for recyclables.
  • Sorting curbside is still a requirement. Wherever possible the Municipality will send materials to alternative recycling facilities; therefore, our materials must be well sorted. To date, East Hants has sent over 35 tonnes of recyclables to a recycling facility in Kentville since Colchester closed.
  • Re-opening of Colchester’s Material Recovery Facility could occur just as quickly as it closed so we need to ensure our materials are ready for processing.

East Hants residents have proven time and again they are proud of their recycling efforts, and for the last 2-years you have been the best in waste diversion in Nova Scotia. During these unprecedented times keep up your efforts, store recyclables if you can and know that wherever possible they will be sent to market. Thank you for your continued support of our strong waste management programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Covid Curbside
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  • 1. What is “essential waste”?
    • Essential waste materials are those which will cause odours or attract pests if left where they were generated – regular garbage and household organics (food waste).
    • Non-essential organics materials include yard and tree debris.
    • Non-essential waste materials include twine, wood, plastics, dirty silage wrap, shingles, etc. These materials are to be stored where generated until the Public Health directives have been lifted, thereby allowing us to lift our restrictions. Alternatively, resident may rent commercial dumpsters for their projects.
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  • 2. Will curbside solid waste collection continue?
    • Currently curbside waste collection is following its regular schedule.
    • For the most up to date information on collection you can sign-up for service alerts and search What Goes Where.
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  • 3. Will we be allowed extra bag limit due to increased use of disposable items or spring-cleaning activities?
    • There are no changes to curbside collection limits.
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  • 4. If the recycling facility is closed – do we still need to sort our materials?
    • YES! Please continue to sort as usual. It is important to sort properly to ensure your material is collected. Proper sorting limits operations staff interaction with your material.
    • Since our regular recycling facility closed at the end of March, East Hants has been able to send over 35 tonnes of material for recycling processing in Kentville.
    • You can also choose to safely store recyclables until our operations return to normal.
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  • 5. Can my green cart be repaired or replaced during the pandemic?
    • Yes, please call the Solid Waste Hotline (1-888-873-3332) to have your information added to our delivery/repair sheets.
    • Residents are encouraged to wipe the handles of their green carts with a disinfectant when it is received.
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  • 6. Are there any changes for sorting?
    • Proper sorting of materials is to continue. We would recommend that residents:
      • Keep clothing and other approved textiles separate from other recyclables. These materials should be stored until charity donations resume.
      • Follow our best practices for managing tissues, gloves, and masks – all items go in the regular garbage.
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  • 7. Can viruses be transmitted on my garbage can or green cart?
    • Like all high-touch surfaces, proper cleaning should take place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Residents may wipe the handles of their garbage cans or green carts with a disinfectant between uses (pre and post collection).
    • Follow proper hand-washing guidelines when handling any waste material, garbage cans or green carts.
    • As always, all materials must be secured in bags for collection.
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  • 8. Can I drop material off at the Waste Management Centre in Georgefield?
    • The East Hants Waste Management Centre is closed to the general public, but is open to commercial clients including contractors and curbside collection vehicles.
    • If you are doing home renovations you are able to rent a commercial dumpster – those are still being received.
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  • 9. I heard Colchester is landfilling recyclables - what does that mean to East Hants?
    • The Municipality of Colchester facility has closed to ensure the safety of their employees and to remain compliant with Public Health recommendations during the pandemic.
    • The Colchester Materials Recovery facility is the processor for East Hants blue bag materials (recyclables). With their closure, materials collected in East Hants have been stored at the East Hants Waste Management Centre.
      • Regular curbside recyclables collection is unaffected at this time. Material set out for collection will continue to be picked up.
      • Residents can opt to store recyclables until the facility reopens, and then place materials out for collection.
    • East Hants will need to send some recyclables to landfill this is due to storage safety concerns. However, this will be done as needed only. Alternatives for processing have already been found for some materials.
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  • 10. What else should go in a garbage bag during Covid-19?

    The following items are to be disposed in a GARBAGE bag. Please ensure bags are tied securely for collection.

    • Facial tissues
      • Tissues are disposed in the garbage as a safety precaution to limit the risk of disease transmission.
    • Disinfecting wipes
    • Paper towels used for cleaning
    • Bathroom waste (i.e. hygiene products, diapers)
    • Nitrile or latex gloves
    • Face masks
    • Flushable wipes – do not flush
    • Items that cannot be cleaned that were used by a person who is sick
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  • 11. What can I do with clothing? – donation bins are closed.
    • Many organizations that collect textile and household item donations have temporarily suspended collection. This includes many thrift stores.
    • Please hold on to donations and keep these organizations in mind once collection has resumed.
    • Contact information for the larger organizations:
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  • 12. How are waste workers being protected?

    Solid waste collection and processing have been identified as an industry exempt from social distancing and 5-person limits under the Health Protection Act Order (revised March 26, 2020). However, precautions are still being taken.

    • Collection workers and staff in our facilities wear personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, work clothing, masks, etc.) to protect them from the hazards they encounter on a daily basis.
    • Safe workplace practices are being followed (e.g. social distancing, health checks, frequent hand-washing).
    • Collection vehicles and equipment are being cleaned and sanitized with a higher frequency.
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  • 13. Are there any measures we can do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19?
    • Observe social-distancing guidelines (2 meters/6 feet) established by Public Health when a collection driver is on your property.
    • Wipe the handles of your garbage cans or green carts with a disinfectant between uses (pre and post collection).
    • Follow proper hand-washing guidelines when handling any waste material, garbage cans or green carts.
    • It is very important that any material used while sick, like tissues, masks, disinfecting wipes, disposable gloves and bathroom products (i.e. hygiene products, diapers) go in the regular garbage bag and that the bag is securely tied for collection.
    • Only place carts or bagged materials out when necessary (if your cart is less than half full, consider waiting for your next scheduled collection).
    • Garbage and recyclables must be in bags that are tightly tied for collection.
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  • 14. How can I dispose of sharps safely?

    Safe Sharps disposal program:

    • Most pharmacies are experiencing a shortage of safe sharps disposal containers for their patients.
    • As a temporary measure, they are directing patients to place their sharps in a rigid plastic container (such as a laundry detergent bottle), stored at home, and clearly marked ‘SHARPS’.
    • Alternate containers will be accepted for proper disposal after the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Sharps or sharps containers are never to be placed in your regular garbage.
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  • 15. I’m concerned about illegal dumping or burning in our communities, what can be done?

    Illegally dumping of waste or burning of waste is prohibited and is punishable by fines.

    • Please contact Nova Scotia Environment to report burning of wastes at 902-424-7773.
    • To report illegal dumping please report to our Solid Waste Hotline at 1-888-873-3332.
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COVID-19 Information