Proper safety measures in place, say recycling centres

Gloves, safety shoes and face masks are part of the uniform for workers at The Salvation Army warehouse in Subang Jaya.

Recycling stations run by charity organisations and social enterprises in the Klang Valley have taken precautionary measures to safeguard workers against the Covid-19 pandemic as they sort through items donated by the public.

The Salvation Army public relations department senior community manager Algene Tan said steps had been put in place at its receiving warehouses.

The charity’s social enterprise arm accepts pre-loved items such as clothing, electrical items, furniture, books and household items that are still in good condition to sell at its Family Thrift Stores for income.

Tan said they would ensure that those entering the warehouses have their body temperature taken.

“In addition to regular hand washing, they must also always wear face masks.

“Thankfully, our premises is large enough to avoid overcrowding and we ensure all employees are physically distanced as they work.

“If any employee feels unwell, especially if they display signs of flu, fever or cough, they will not be allowed to enter the premises.

“So far, everyone understands the repercussions of flouting the standard operating procedure as most do not want to burden their own families and community by contracting the virus,” she said.

Tan added that a sanitising solution was sprayed on most items.

However, some things like paper do not get sprayed.

“As such, we highly recommend that people clean or wipe their items upon purchase.

“Our collection centres in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya are

contactless so donors can safely drop off their items at our cabins,” she said.

Social enterprise Bless Shop senior operations manager Tina Chong said it had stopped accepting volunteers to help with sorting at its warehouse.

Its retail shop sells pre-loved shoes and clothes in Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur.

“This is to emphasise the point that everyone should stay home to stop the spread.

“Employees are also covered under our group insurance plan, so if there is ever a need for them to undergo coronavirus tests or be hospitalised, they can claim for it,” she added.

However, with the lockdown currently in place, Bless and Salvation Army’s warehouses and stores are closed.

At Pertubuhan Amal Seri Sinar Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor, its founder and president Datuk Eadon Ching said gloves were mandatory, especially for workers assigned to collect items deposited at the 30 collection bins placed around Klang Valley.

The charity has been collecting recyclables like plastic bottles and scrap metals since 2003 to raise funds for the underprivileged.

“The workers come in contact with bin door handles, which have been touched by the public.

“They are also required to have water in the truck so they can wash their hands.

“At the end of a working day, our sorting area is fogged with disinfectant,” he explained.

The organisation’s sorting centre is still open but with only 60% manpower for segregation work and collection from its recycling bins.

Visitors and in-person donation of items are not allowed at the premises for now.

One message that Tan, Chong and Chin are eager to pass on to the public is to refrain from treating the recycling centres, donation bins and pick up cabins as a dumping ground for non-recyclables.

“Disposable diapers, sanitary towels, face masks, tissues, carbon paper, sandpaper, paint cans, toxic liquid cans, cups, plates and bulbs are examples of non-recyclables.

“Plastic bags, aluminium cans or paper and glass packaging, especially if they have been soiled by dirt or grease, should not be disposed of at such centres either,” they said. — By GRACE CHEN

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