Where’s the recycling truck? Driver shortage continues to delay service

Virginia Beach

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Ready to fire up the grill? With the pandemic under control, more families are planning to have large gatherings this year.

The City of Virginia Beach is advising residents to be careful about how they throw away disposables.

( Photo: Regina Mobley/WAVY)

When families get together, they will often “have their solo cups which are not recyclable- you know the little red cups that everybody likes to drink out of- they are not recyclable; a lot of people think they are. The paper plates that hold the food are not recyclable,” said recycling coordinator Kristi Rines.

For the items that are recyclables, residents are encouraged to pack their patience with their picnic basket. In Virginia Beach, it takes up to 19 drivers to hit every neighborhood on recycling days. On Tuesday, TFC had only 14 drivers in the resort city.

(Photo: Regina Mobley/WAVY)

An entire neighborhood in southern Virginia Beach was missed.

“In some cases, they just get driven by [because] the truck is full. They have to go all the way back to the recycling facility which is in Chesapeake [then] tip out and return to the route and sometimes they just forget where they left off,” said Rines.

Beach residents are sounding off on the City’s Public Works Facebook page, earlier this month, Julie, a Virginia Beach resident, called the system absurd.

Public Works officials say during a recent meeting their recycling contractor, TFC, assured them the company is working to improve service.

There was some talk that they will be increasing wages on their hiring end as well what they are doing internally to retain drivers as well.

So for now, across the region, prepare for a long hot summer of recycling pick-up delays. The first year of the pandemic produced record-breaking recycling numbers as children learned from home while parents earned from home. The tonnage could be smaller this year as more families are expected to hit the road this summer.

( Virginia Beach Public Works)

“If Tuesday routes are behind, that extra day rolls into Wednesday. Wednesday routes will obviously roll into Thursday, Thursday will roll into Friday, and Friday will sometimes roll into Saturday. In some cases, the Saturday pickup can roll into Monday morning.”

(Photo: Regina Mobley/WAVY)

Officials encourage Virginia Beach residents to call Public Works if their trash, recycling and yard clippings have not been picked up by noon on the day after your scheduled pickup.

Public Works can be reached by phone at 757-385-4650 or by email at wastemgt@vbgov.com.

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