Baltimore City officials said they expect weekly recycling to resume in early 2024. The Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee held a hearing on the matter on Thursday.
In January 2022, the Department of Public Works shifted to a biweekly schedule after service disruptions, due to the pandemic.
Richard Luna, the interim DPW director, said “tremendous progress” has been made in restoring trash and recycling pickups weekly. He said 80% of crews have been hired, new trucks are on the way and private vendors are in place to supplement the 75 daily truck routes.
“The earliest we can resume weekly recycling for the entire city would be at the end of February,” said Luna. “[It could also be] the later part of March. It’s very contingent on us receiving those trucks on time.”
For some residents that timeline is not soon enough. Committee members said they hear from constituents who are frustrated by piling trash. Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer asked why the city “hasn’t fulfilled a basic government function and is the only jurisdiction where weekly recycling hasn’t continued post-pandemic.”
Faith Leach, the city administrator, responded: “We have got to be very clear that we, like every other city in the country, are dealing with supply chain delays.” According to DPW — the city’s largest agency — only five of the 80 dumpster trucks ordered have been delivered.
“I would love for February to be the date,” continued Leach. “We have to receive those trucks before I feel comfortable with getting us back to weekly recycling. I can guarantee that as soon as we have trucks that are in the city of Baltimore, and we are ready to roll out a program that is sustainable, we absolutely will do that.”