A shortage of drivers and fewer places to get rid of garbage are hurting some trash haulers. Just ask Mike Camara, the CEO of the solid waste and recycling company ABC Disposal Service out of New Bedford. He started filling in himself behind the wheel to keep routes moving. “It really hit hard last year because I had not driven in 15 years, and drove twelve times last year and probably about ten times this year. As the CEO of the company, they don’t need me in the truck but obviously I can still do it,” he said. “It’s a serious problem.”
He says more people are retiring from the industry than are signing up, and is now offering more incentives like paying for the driver to get their license. “Right now there’s a shortage of about 300,000 drivers across the country. We might have a broker that will say to us, ‘look we’re going to send you ten trucks today’… only two show up…It backs up and it’s causing quite a problem. It’s a double-edged sword. You have the disposal crisis in the state and you have a truck driver shortage,” Camara explained.
In the meantime, the trash is piling up with few places to go, and customers are waiting. In Massachusetts, most of your garbage is likely shipped out of state to places like Michigan, New York, Virginia. ABC Disposal Service handles several hundred thousand tons of trash a year, a majority of which shipped to a landfill in Ohio.