BALTIMORE — In a week people are expecting to have their recycling products picked up by Baltimore City Department of Public Works employees.
It's been nearly almost six months since the city paused recycling pickup due to the coronavirus pandemic. Baltimoreans told WMAR-2 News they're glad services are being restored but they're still waiting on an update from the city.
"It’s been pushed back I feel like," said Bethany Brown outside the Sisson Street Citizen Drop-Off Center. "We’re not sure exactly when. We’re just hopeful."
Chris May said the same thing, noting he had about a month of recyclables piled up. He too would like more information on service restoration.
"No idea, just rumors," said May.
On December 15, Mayor Brandon M. Scott said the City’s curbside recycling collections are scheduled to resume on January 19.
At the time he said, “We have to restart curbside recycling collections, a basic core function of City government, and we must get it right. I thank our residents for their patience during this unprecedented time. Please expect to hear more from the Department of Public Works about a plan for the resumption of recycling services in the coming weeks."
In the meantime, Baltimoreans have shown resilience in their own commitment to recycling. From using the various drop-off sites to starting their own businesses, they've helped eliminate recyclables from ending up in trash cans.
"I started picking up people's recycling for a small fee," said Mario Bory. "It started with a few posts online and now I have about two dozen people that I take care of."
Bory is an out of work bartender. He told WMAR when he receives a text for service he coordinates with the homeowner or renter, completes the service and then they Venmo him the money.
A recent post on Facebook read:
"Need your recycling picked up? I’ll come to your house and pick-up recycling and take it to the appropriate recycling facility. Text a picture of what you need picked up and your address. I’ll work with you to come up with a fair price and pick up date. Basic service (yellow bin) amount is $12 and includes small bundle of broken-down cardboard. I will take recycling items from your bin and leave the bin at your house."
At it since September Bory said the added work has kept him busy and connected.
"You really get to connect people, even if it's from a distant," he said. "As for next week, there’s no real way to foreshadow what the city is going to do are not going to do but If they decide to go back to the workers picking up, great! If not, I’ll still be out here."
WMAR reached out to DPW with specific questions about staffing, equipment and outside contractors. A spokesperson said questions would be addressed during a press conference later in the week.