BALTIMORE (WMAR) — COVID-19 has impacted recycling operations in Baltimore City. While the Department of Public Works set up drop off sites in neighborhoods, residents can use their regular centers that offer shortcuts around the trash lines.
“I come here quite often and it’s very easy,” said Councilman Yitzy Schleifer.
Schleifer drops off his recycling regularly at the Northwest Transfer Station. Especially now with the move to bi-weekly pick up, he thinks more people would use it too if they knew how easy it was.
“People have to know what their options are and also understand that if you’re coming here to drop off recycling, you do not wait in the trash line,” said Schleifer.
The NW site usually has a line of trucks wrapped around the building waiting to dump trash, but there’s a separate lane to the left of the trash lane that residents can use for recycling.
There are five sites in total across the city open until 5 p.m.
Three centers — at Sisson, Reedbird and Bowleys Lane — are only open for residents and the Quarantine Road Landfill Convenience Center is separate from the lane used by commercial vehicles.
However, there have been reports to WMAR-2 News of some of the centers closing early Schleifer said this isn’t a new issue.
“I’ve heard them say the dumpsters are full or they’re closing up. I’ve had people call me and tell me that,” said Schleifer.
DPW officials said they are investigating the claims and the drop-off sites have instructions that residents can drop off as much as they need to during operating hours.
“If you come here when it’s supposed to be open, you’re entitled to drop your trash,” said Schleifer.
DPW moved to bi-weekly recycling pick up because of severe staffing shortages caused by the COVID case surge.
“People are very disappointed that we have gone to bi-weekly,” said Schleifer. “Sometimes you get a lot of packages one week and your boxes stack up and some weeks you don’t get as much and so that off week is a challenge. What we are also seeing is that regardless of how much we communicate, there’s always going to be people who don’t realize it’s every other week and so therefore you still see recycling being blown throughout the streets.”
DPW is working to set up drop-off sites in neighborhoods too. As for resuming weekly pick-up, they want to stabilize their staffing numbers first so there’s no timeline for that yet.