woman recyles during the coronavirus emergency

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has changed our lives on an unprecedented scale. Not only are many of us working from home while watching our children and worrying about the future, but many people are completely out of work, watching their children, and worrying about their future. On top of this, essential employees are leaving their homes every day to work—performing their jobs with great risk to their health.

And this is where the virus and its effect on recycling workers comes in to play. Can you recycle during the coronavirus emergency?

Some recycling drop-off centers have been temporarily closed. Other municipalities are continuing with curbside pickup. Still others have discontinued curbside pickup because workers have to sort recycling materials by hand, and the virus may linger on the materials they are sorting.

So, what should you do with your recycling?

  • Check with your local government/city/municipality website to see if they are collecting recycling, and if so, what types.
  • Find a way to collect your recycling. If your municipality has halted pickups and dropoffs, you need to make a decision about whether or not you can collect your recycling.
  • If you’re collecting your recycling, perhaps in a garage or similar space, make sure your containers are clean. For example, rinse your soda/pop bottles and cans so they don’t turn moldy or attract animals.
  • Prepare to throw away items you normally recycle. I live in a small apartment. We can’t stack our aluminum cans in a pyramid—like we used to do in college. I’m doing my best, but I’m going to have to make some decisions soon.
  • Buy compostable-friendly products and severely cut down on your plastic consumption if possible.

Here are a few articles I found that dive deeper into these topics:

Can You Recycle During Coronavirus?


Hi, I'm MJ, a recovering aspirational recycler who started HowToRecycle to share her journey with others. I kindly invite you to share your knowledge with me, talk about issues that are bothering you, tell me where I’m wrong (you know you want to), and help me discover new things!