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Council President Calls on City to Do More Following Suspension of Pick-Up Recycling

Council President Calls on City to Do More Following Suspension of Pick-Up Recycling

Council President Plans to Mobilize Office to Support Solid Waste Workers

BALTIMORE, MD (Monday, August 31, 2020) — Following Thursday’s announcement that pick-up recycling services would be suspended through early November, Council President Brandon M. Scott sent a letter to Acting Department of Public Works Director Matthew Garbark expressing frustration at the ongoing challenges associated with regular trash and recycling pickup and calling on DPW to take steps to better serve residents.

In the letter, the Council President calls for the Department to better prioritize 311 requests for missed trash collection, put additional recycling drop-off sites in each Council district, extend hours at the City’s three citizen drop-off centers, and be more proactive about communication between DPW and neighborhoods. Read the letter in full here.

“For some of our neighborhoods, this announcement comes on top of weeks of disruptions to residential trash and recycling pick up. While COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for our city, it is unacceptable for us to be at this point and more must be done to ensure seniors, people with disabilities, and people without personal vehicles can access basic city services,” writes the Council President. “I am frustrated that Baltimore continues to struggle with regular trash pickup, a problem that predates this pandemic. Even as we navigate challenging and unprecedented circumstances, the City has to find a way to complete its most basic responsibilities on behalf of our constituents.”

The Council President continues: “For my part, I will be out there to help alongside our solid waste workers and will be mobilizing my office to support in that effort until regular services can resume. In these challenging times, we must pull together as a community and be willing to think outside of the box.”

The letter, which commends the hard work of DPW solid waste workers during this pandemic, also asks the Department to explain the alternatives that were considered prior to the temporary suspension in pick-up recycling services and whether employees of the Department have the personal protective equipment needed to do their jobs safely. 

“This is not to diminish the labor of the hard-working women and men of DPW, who have contended with coronavirus outbreaks, extreme heat, and an increased load. With the tragic passing of a DPW solid waste worker on the job last week, we must do everything we can to support our frontline workers and keep them safe. I thank our solid waste workers who have continued to show up for their dedicated service,” writes the Council President

On Tuesday, September 15 at 2:30PM, per the Council President’s request, the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing with the administration and DPW to discuss  the impact of COVID-19 on basic trash and recycling services.

Members of the public and press can stream the hearing online, watch live on CharmTV (Channel 25/1085HD), or call in to listen at 408-418-9388  (Access code: 129 735 5191). Information and an agenda for the hearing can be found here.

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