The Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) has suspended curbside residential recycling collections as of Aug. 31 to shift employees to help with the city’s trash services. Starting Aug. 31, all DPW recycling collections’ crews transitioned to aid with trash collections on a full-time basis, the Baltimore DPW states in a news release on its website.
According to a news release from the DPW on Aug. 14, the city had been facing delays in collecting trash and recycling due to COVID-19, weather conditions, an increase in the amount of waste that DPW's Bureau of Solid Waste crews are collecting and shortages in staff reporting to work each day. The DPW reported that only 163 of the required 230 staff members reported to work Aug. 14 and that some of these workers were out due to COVID-19 or due to being in quarantine for 14 days or more because they were in contact with someone who was infected.
The city said the suspension is temporary. As an alternative for recycling in the meantime, the city will offer 14 community collection centers through Nov. 1.
“This plan offers a community-friendly partnership to residents that enables DPW to continue recycling collection services without compromising trash collections, which are essential during this time,” the city’s DPW says. “Unlike other cities, DPW has tried to avoid decisions such as this, but recycling services have become overwhelming for the department and its workers.”
“As the issues related to trash and recycling collections have continued to accumulate, Mayor Young directed the Department of Public Works to develop a plan to ensure trash is collected timely and consistently,” says Baltimore City DPW Acting Director Matthew Garback. “We know Baltimore must recycle, and many of our residents want to do so. That is why we are establishing community collection centers for recycling in each of the 14 city council districts. This will allow residents to continue to recycle.”