DPW Outlines Factors Contributing to Trash, Recycling Delays

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) is facing delays collecting trash and recycling due to COVID-19, weather conditions, an increase in the amount of waste that DPW’s Bureau of Solid of Waste crews are collecting and shortages in staff reporting to work each day. Today, in the Bureau of Solid Waste’s Routine Services Division, which collects residential trash and recycling, 163 of a required 230 staff reported to work.

Some of these essential front-line workers are out of work due to COVID-19 or due to being in quarantine for 14 days or more because they were in contact with someone with the COVID-19 virus. There are also employees out of work due to other illnesses, and on permission leave.

The Solid Waste crews that are reporting to work are working longer hours in weather conditions that vary from day to day. “DPW’s Solid Waste Crews have been working six days a week and until late in the evening. These same crews are often expected to report back at work early the next morning,” DPW Acting Director Matthew W. Garbark said.

DPW has identified a few private collection companies to contract with to help support Solid Waste operations. Unfortunately, many private-sector waste management companies have also been struggling with staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and do not have the staff and/or equipment necessary to support the City’s Solid Waste Services.

“The City is working hard to identify and pursue long-term solutions to address recycling delays and alleviate the current pressure on our trash and recycling collection crews,” Acting Director Garbark said.

Curbside trash tonnage has increased by 22 percent since the activation of the City’s Shelter in Place Order some five months ago. As a result of the trash tonnage increase, 10-hour routes are taking longer causing some collections to be delayed.

Baltimore City like many cities throughout the country has been struggling with delayed routes because of the residential tonnage and employee shortages due to COVID-19.

Daily Trash, Recycling Updates Available on the DPW Website

To keep residents informed about trash, collections, DPW is now providing daily updates on its website. Updates on trash and recycling collections will be provided to residents when it’s known. To see if your neighborhood’s trash or recycling collections may be impacted, please visit: https://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/node/18972. In addition, this information can be accessed by clicking on the “COVID –19 Alert: Trash, Recycling Collections” box on the front page of the DPW website: https://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/.

Convenience Drop-Off Centers Open

As the Department works to address collection delays, DPW encourages residents to use the three Convenience Drop-Off Centers that are currently available to the public Monday through Saturday:

  • Sisson Street Citizen Drop-Off Center, located at 2840 Sisson Street, Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Northwest Transfer Station, located at 5030 Reisterstown Road, Monday – Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Quarantine Road Landfill, located at 6100 Quarantine Road, Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.