The Fundy Region Service Commission, which is responsible for managing the waste management for the Greater St. John area in New Brunswick, has temporarily suspended the practice of separating waste into garbage, compost and recycling at the landfill, and blue bin depots have been closed until further notice. The suspension of service is to ensure worker health & safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Although the curbside pick-up of blue bin recyclable and green bin organics will continue, all the material will be landfilled.

The Fundy Region Service Commission (the “Commission”) provide solid waste management, planning, building inspection services as well as collaboration of other services to the City of St. John, New Brunswick and surrounding municipalities.  The Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission is responsible for solid waste disposal and diversion in the Greater Saint John area, including Crane Mountain Landfill and the recycling and compost programs.

Chris Hand, Operations Supervisor at the Fundy Region Service Commission told CTV News that the reason for the suspension in the recycling and organics programs was due to worker health and safety.  Hand stated, “A lot of people don’t realize that when the recyclables come in and the compost as well, the organics, we have belts that that has to get across where there’s actually staff that has to intermingle with that waste.”

“The stories that we’re hearing, that COVID-19 can stay up to three days on porous plastics, 24 hours onto cardboard, and even with the strict PPE requirements in place with our staff, we just don’t want to take any of the chances with our staff at this time,” Harned said in the CTV News interview.

The Commission is asking residents to consider storing their compost and/or recycling for proper disposal at a later date. This will support our collective environmental responsibility and help save space at the landfill.  If it is not feasible to store the compost and/or recyclables for pick up at a later date, the Commission is still requesting residents to continue separating organics and recyclables as municipalities are charged lower rates for these streams than garbage by the Commission.  Also, it will help keep the correct routine when the pandemic ends.