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Labor shortage delays recycling pickup for many in Richmond

September 4, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Curbside recycling pickup for some in the Richmond area has been delayed by labor shortages exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the hot weather.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority has warned customers that shortages of drivers and other waste workers could cause delays. The authority oversees waste and recycling collection in 13 local jurisdictions.

The authority said Friday that residential recycling pickups that normally occur on Thursdays in a number of areas have been delayed for at least a week.

TFC Recycling, a Chesapeake-based company that performs collections for about 265,000 residences in the authority’s jurisdiction, said that pandemic-related labor shortages also affecting other businesses have made it harder to hire and retain drivers and other workers. The summer heat has also made it harder to find people to do the hands-on work.

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“In the last several months, we have had some real issues trying to recruit and maintain drivers — not only drivers but helpers, too,” said Tad Phillips, general manager of TFC’s Richmond-area operations, told the newspaper.

Hiring has also become harder as package delivery companies compete for some of the same workers for their trucks as people turn to online ordering during the pandemic.

The newspaper reported that the recycling company normally operates 26 routes daily with 26 drivers and 18 helpers, but the company is short of about four drivers and 10 helpers.