Nationwide shortage of workers impacts trash collection in Camden County town
A Camden County town is taking on trash and recycling collection itself after it says its regular vendor quit.
“It’s a hangover from the pandemic and I’m concerned it’s not one that’s going to go away,” says Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley.
The borough has contracted out the trash and recycling pickup for the past 50 years. But the mayor says that this changed last week.
“We got to a point where last Thursday they sent us an email notifying us that they were not sending anyone in at all. So we began pretty quickly throwing together a plan to get the personnel to being our own trash department,” Maley says.
A nationwide shortage of workers is to blame. Collingswood officials jumped into action as the trash sat on the curb. They borrowed trucks from neighboring towns and trained the Public Works Department on the job.
“At least six to nine people in the shop out of 12 are on trash duty. So we’re trying to rotate through to lessen the burden on everyone to keep everyone health and refreshed,” says DPW Director and Police Chief Kevin Carey. “So it’s a good majority of the people here in our shop are out doing sanitation collection.”
As the crews play catchup, the borough is working on a long-term solution and is hiring more staff to help. But officials say that this backup in trash collection will likely continue for the near future.
“We have reached out to a couple different vendors and asked for a month-to-month contract just to get us over the hurdle…but this far we haven’t gotten many positive responses because of that nationwide shortage,” says Carey.
The borough will be opening up a site on Colmy Avenue on Monday where residents can bring recyclables and brush, which are typically picked up by crews.