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Weekly recycling pickup resumes this week in Baltimore City

Weekly recycling pickup resumes this week in Baltimore City
Weekly recycling pickup resumes this week in Baltimore City 02:09

BALTIMORE - Weekly recycling pickup will resume this week in Baltimore City.

Beginning Tuesday, collection -- which has been bi-weekly for years -- will return each week for city residents.

"Baltimore, weekly recycling is back," Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott exclaimed.

Scott held an event Monday morning to highlight the return of weekly recycling pickup.

Recycling was suspended in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and then returned to bi-weekly pickup. 

Weekly recycling planned to resume in Baltimore City in March 02:33

It was a move criticized by Baltimore City Council member Yitzy Schleifer. 

"What we see oftentimes is that it ends up getting blown into the water, the creeks, the gutters, so there's been a lot of pollution caused by this every other week collection," Schleifer said.

The mayor says that pickup days will not change for city residents, which will be each Tuesday, but the time of that pickup may change because of potential route changes. 

"Baltimore, you can be assured that we have done the hard work and are more than ready to support this team and this return to weekly return to weekly recycling in a way that is sustainable for the future," Scott said.

The Department of Public Works says they have added 35 new drivers and hired 74 new workers.

It has also ordered 80 new load packers.

Baltimore residents told WJZ they think that weekly recycling pickup in the city could lead to less pollution.

"In terms of keeping the beauty of the city, we don't want to see recycling piling up on the streets," said David Fontana.

Other Baltimore residents told WJZ they are relieved because recycling bins fill up quickly.

"If you miss it, you have to wait another two weeks and it's already probably full," said Jennifer Knighton.

Anita Nucci says that sometimes cardboard boxes and items are thrown on the streets or in alleyways while dealing with a bi-weekly pickup.

"People just throw stuff all over the place," Nucci said. 

Mayor Scott and DPW Interim Director Richard Luna announced they are focused on these strategies:

  • Growing the Solid Waste Workforce: DPW has hired/promoted 35 new drivers and 74 new solid waste workers. With these latest hires, the solid waste workforce is down an 8.6 % vacancy rate.
  • Optimizing Recycling Routes: DPW implemented new technology to reduce the number of stops per crew from 2600 stops per crew down to 1800 stops per crew.
  • Upgrading the Solid Waste Fleet: DPW and DGS worked to upgrade and maintain the city's aging fleet. The City procured 80 new load packer trucks. Of these, 20 of these trucks have now been delivered, clearing the threshold of necessary equipment needed to return to weekly pick-up.

New Trucks, New Look

In order to encourage Baltimore residents to recycle, the new DPW Solid Waste trucks will be easy to spot as they traverse the city. These trucks now have a new look—bright colors, a new tagline, and an arrow design, signifying the new routes and evolution of the recycling symbol.

DPW's Solid Waste fleet is comprised of load packers designed specifically to move through Baltimore's narrow alleyways. In the Solid Waste industry, these trucks are known as the "Baltimore Load Packer."

Clean it! Contain it! Curb It!

To facilitate a smooth transition to weekly recycling, DPW urges residents to take the following steps:

  • Clean It: Make sure recycling items are clean and empty. Help the recycling process by rinsing containers to remove food residue before placing in your recycling cart.
  • Contain It: Make sure your City-issued, blue recycling cart is in good condition with a secure lid. If you have moved and are in need of a cart, please call 311 or submit a service request online. Residents are free to use any type of container to hold and secure their recycling—except plastic bags.
  • Curb It: Set your recycling container out on your regular recycling collection day, place your items out for pick-up where your trash is collected. Your recycling collection day remains the same, but the time of pick-up may change. The return to weekly recycling just changes the frequency of recycling collections, moving from every other week to weekly pick-ups. To check your recycling collection day, please check our online map.
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