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Coronavirus outbreak forces Calgary recycling facility shutdown

Calgary recycling material will be shipped to city landfills if residents put out their blue bins this week, as the city deals with a coronavirus outbreak at a material centre.

The Cascades Recovery outbreak was first reported earlier this week. In Thursday’s City of Calgary briefing, Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson said the outbreak was now at 19 cases.

He said collection at that facility is now temporarily suspended.

Chief Sampson said after the outbreak was first reported a deep clean was done. Then, they went in and deep cleaned again.

“It’s not that you’re at any risk as the public. It’s that we need to make sure that facility is absolutely safe for those employees to go to work,” said Chief Sampson.

“That means we’re going to have to interrupt.”

To that end, Sampson asked Calgarians to hold their blue bin recycling material for at least the next week.

“But if you do put your blue bin out on the curb for the next couple of days, we will be taking it away and unfortunately having to put it into the landfill,” he said.

Hopeful to have the recycling facility running by next week

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said that he’s hopeful the facility will be operating again next week.

“If you’re not full, if you’ve got room to hold it back for a week, please do so,” he said.

“And that way when the facility is up and running again, hopefully early next week, we’ll be able to take that back. Otherwise, we’re just throwing the stuff away and nobody wants that.”

Chief Sampson said the closure is a real “body blow” employees in Calgary’s waste and recycling services.

“They’re passionate about what they do. They’re passionate about the service we provide, and we’re sorry that it’s not working,” he said.