Hanover Twp. and the City of Wilkes-Barre are following stricter guidelines when it comes to picking up residents’ garbage and recycling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hanover Twp. manager Sam Guesto said stricter guidelines were issued to residents on Monday about how trash and recycling can be thrown away. This, he said, includes making sure all containers are rinsed out and trash is tied tightly in a non-ripped garbage back.
Guesto said the township has been having problems with residents throwing trash like paper plates or paper products into cans without bags. Under the new guidelines, which follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Guesto said, that will no longer be accepted.
In the City of Wilkes-Barre, Director of Operations for the Department of Works Butch Frati said they’re enforcing the already existing recycling guidelines with a warning sticker program, disseminated by city’s health code department inspectors that now follow the garbage trucks on their routes. He said garbage bags are still limited to 35 pounds per bag, and trash bags are still available for purchase.
While Frati said these moves were going to be implemented anyway later this spring, the coronavirus outbreak caused the council to implement the new rules earlier.
Guesto said while his regulations were devised at the end of February in preparation for the outbreak, he will keep them in place for the future.
“Usually with something like this, we would have a board meeting to go through,” Guesto said. “Since we’re in a declaration of emergency, I spoke with the council. Through the fact that all these different recommendations were coming out of the CDC, we decided to implement this on March 30.”
Guesto said he put the announcement in the newspaper and ran an advertisement Sunday, ahead of the March 30 implementation. Guesto said so far there haven’t been compliance issues with residents.
Guesto and Frati have also implemented new safety guidelines for employees.
Guesto outlined Hanover Twp.’s, saying the employees now wear gloves, safety glasses, have unlimited access to hand sanitizer, and will sanitize the trucks daily and deep-clean them weekly.
He added employees are required to be temperature-checked with a thermometer.
Frati said safety measures for his employees include social distancing at all times, wearing gloves, safety glasses and masks and changing into street clothes before leaving work. While his workers don’t have showering facilities, Frati said they’re encouraged to clean off their hands, faces and necks in the sinks with soap.
“You can’t put a price on safety and the safety of our employees is something that’s very important to us, also,” Guesto said. “So, we’ll have to wait those out and monitor it as this is ongoing. The biggest thing is for the residents to be patient. Know that we’ve done this for the safety of all of us.”
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