Ready to take those cans and bottles back? Return-It centres are open again - InfoNews

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Ready to take those cans and bottles back? Return-It centres are open again

Customers make their way into Penticton's Return-It depot earlier this week. Most Return-It stores have reopened with protocols in place to handle COVID -19 self distancing requirements.
May 17, 2020 - 8:30 AM

British Columbia’s Return-It recycling locations are back in business in Kamloops and the Okanagan, but for those about to return all those bottles and cans stored up during self-isolation, there are some operating changes to be aware of.

Several depots closed in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic but have since reopened.

Encorp Pacific, the company in charge of B.C.’s Return-It centres, have been working with the independently-owned depots to ensure precautionary measures are put in place to protect themselves, their customers and the community, President and CEO of Encorp Pacific Allen Langdon says.

There are currently just under 20 depots the province that are still closed, while some have reduced operating hours.

“Some of the considerations include managing social distancing compliance base on the size of the depot, some of (which) have been able to manage this more quickly than others,” Langdon said in an email May 14.

Encorp’s website is updated as soon as they are aware of a depot’s changing hours. The link can be found at this Encorp website, where you can search by location to find individual depots.

Langdon is encouraging use of Return-It’s Express service, both as a convenience and as a way to maintain COVID-19 protocols.

"This system supports social distancing and limits consumer interaction. With the Express program, customers do not need to sort their containers and can drop off their labeled bag of beverage containers in less than a minute,” he says.

Registration is free. Langdon says there has been a large increase in consumers using the service during this time. 

More information on Return-It Express and a list of which depots have this service, can be found here.

At Penticton’s J&C Bottle Depot, customers were busy in the parking area outside the business’s front entrance sorting their returnables earlier this week.

Spokesperson Kevin Cook says at the Penticton facility, customers are restricted to 10 at a time inside the building, so most end up sorting their materials outside.

The floorspace inside has been opened up to allow easier management of six-foot spacing between customers, and the counter has been portioned off in a plastic shield similar to that installed in grocery stores and other retail businesses.

All staff are masked, and customers are encouraged to wear masks, Cook says.

Each depot may have new operating procedures.

He also recommends the Return-It Express service as a way to recycle with minimal social contact.

Social distancing considerations have limited the number of people in Return-It depots.
Social distancing considerations have limited the number of people in Return-It depots.

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