Columbus City Council says yard waste pickup delays due to labor shortage

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Thousands of complaints and a backlog in service. That’s what Columbus City Council is looking to address. 

This after residents complained the trash company left yard waste and recycling on the curb. 

It’s a story we first brought to you on Better Call 4. A public hearing was held Thursday to address the issues.  

Rumpke says it has bolstered efforts in the last few weeks to make sure no trash is left behind, but they say the problem won’t be solved without help. 

The city says it’s the seasonal yard waste that they’re getting the most complaints about. 

“It’s heavy when you don’t get it on time, we’re having lots of rain the bags get heavier, the bags break it’s kind of a snowballing problem,” said Recycling Manager TJ Black during the meeting.  

The hearing brought all stakeholders together and allowed for public comment.  

“This last contract year which started April the 1st they have skyrocketed,” said Black addressing the complains.  

3-1-1 which takes citizen complaints says the number of reports has surpassed all of last year’s numbers. 

In all of 2020 there were 7, 886 reports of missed yard waste. 

“Right now, Rumpke is sitting just through may at 7,677 for missed yard waste and then the recycling missed us right underneath that,” explained Carmen Duckens, the service managers with 311.  

Rumpke Municipal Representative Taylor Greenly had this to say, “We owe many Columbus residents and apology, and we owe you some major gratitude. 

Greenly says a contributing factor to the delays is their labor shortage. It’s something they’re hoping to get worked out soon. 

“We have more trainees in our school. We have 22 right now and so the more that our team grows the more households are going to get collected.” 

Until there are more boots on the ground, Rumpke has pulled in 16 other drivers regionally to help with the workload and have extended hours. 

“The last major change that we did — Rumpke announced a few weeks ago that they were going to be working on Saturdays,” said Black.  

Rumpke says as of right now — they’re back on schedule and it hopes to keep it that way. 

It added that it takes between 4 and 6 weeks to get people through their CDL training school and out on the job. 

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