SWANA submitted a letter to the Baltimore City Council in connection with its January 13 oversight hearing relating to collection delays caused by the surge in new COVID cases. The letter provides a national perspective on the issue, noting that numerous cities across the country are experiencing staffing shortages due to COVID. This, in combination with increased waste and recycling volumes due to the holidays, is forcing some communities to make operational changes. For example, some are delaying collection while others temporarily suspend or adjust recycling and yard waste services.
“We appreciate the opportunity to provide this information to the Baltimore City Council and explain that the staffing shortages being experienced in Baltimore are occurring throughout the United States,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director & CEO. “With record numbers of new cases being reported daily, many industries, including solid waste and public works, are being adversely affected,” he added.
SWANA has been an industry leader in helping elected officials, the media, and the general population understand the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the waste industry since March 2020. SWANA was recently cited by CNN and other media outlets concerning the current operational impacts of COVID-19 on the solid waste and recycling industry. SWANA warned in late December that the Omicron variant could lead to increased staffing shortages and collection delays during the holidays and in January.