Tropical Storm Isaias could further delay Philadelphia recycling; trash expected to resume normal pickup

Monday, August 3, 2020
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Philadelphia Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams says crews have already picked up 40,000 tons of trash at this point this year.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Streets Department continues to deal with a trash problem being fuel partly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams says crews have already picked up 40,000 tons of trash at this point this year, more than at any point in previous years.

As far as delays go, Williams says some progress has been made.

"We are working extremely hard to get back on a normal trash and recycling collection schedule. In fact, we are back on a normal trash collection schedule, our challenges right now has been recycling."

READ MORE: 'Filth-Adelphia is Back': Philadelphia neighbors say trash is piling up

Of course with impending Tropical Storm Isaias, more delays could be on the horizon.

The Department is suspending recycling collections from Wednesday, August 5 to Friday, August 7. Residents can place trash out on their normal trash collection day, however, residents should hold their recycling on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until the following week.

"Heavy rains and downpours and heavy winds cause problems with collections, especially with recycling. So, if you put it out on the curb it can get wet and contaminated, it can also blow over and cause litter," Williams added.

The department says it's still struggling with attendance issues due to usual sick calls, injuries on duty and the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Sanitation Union Says More than 100 Workers Have Contracted COVID-19 As Trash Piles Up on Philly Streets

"Wet weather causes trash to get heavier which slows our crews down and makes it very difficult and already challenging environment, and then of course you have the attendance issue," said Williams.

In response, the Streets Department is hiring 120 temporary workers, hoping to continue getting things back on track.

The Department is also pushing its 'Curb Your Waste Tips" program to help with collection delays. Tips include using your at-home garbage disposal, not bagging grass clippings and taking advantage of the city's six sanitation convenience centers.