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DPW says Baltimore trash, recycling pickup delays caused by COVID, increase in trash

Baltimore’s acting public works director said recent delays in trash and recycling pickup have been caused by staff shortages due to COVID-19, as well as a spike in trash being set curbside during the pandemic.

In recent weeks residents in different parts of the city have complained about trash not being picked up.

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Acting DPW director Matthew Garback said in a Friday night news release that since the stay-at-home order was issued, the city has seen a 22% increase in trash pickup. Meanwhile, crews from the bureau of solid waste have faced shortages due to COVID-19 or workers being in quarantine due to being in contact with someone with the virus, as well as other illnesses or leave.

On Friday, for example, 163 of a required 230 workers reported for their shift, the agency said.

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Those who report to work are facing longer shifts. “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,” Garback said in a statement.

Garback said DPW has explored hiring private companies, but those companies are facing the same challenges.

“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,” Garbark said.

DPW says it is now providing daily updates on its website where residents can see if their neighborhood’s trash or recycling collections have been impacted.

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