COVID-19 cases causing delays in recycling, trash pick up in Memphis

City of Memphis now picking up recycling with trash

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - COVID-19 is causing problems with trash and recycling pickup across the City of Memphis.

Nearly one-fourth of all sanitation workers have contracted COVID-19 or have been in quarantine sometime this year.

In midtown, neighbors say recently their recycling bins have been sitting untouched on the curb, sometimes for weeks. 

“Second week, still out there, still not picked up, and we’re running out of space and I don’t want to throw it away!” said Alexandra Wohlgemuth.

“Yeah it’s a little frustrating to have that just piling up out there,” said Kyle Johnson. 

The City of Memphis reports approximately 25% of their solid waste employees have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in quarantine this year, making it difficult to fully staff all waste and recycling crews. 

“That’s a lot, I’m surprised that it’s that high,” said Wohlgemuth. 

Starting Monday, until further notice, solid waste crews are now mixing trash and recycling together, and sending it to the landfill, to make sure it’s all picked up and removed. 

“It’s a little disheartening to know that’s it just being commingled together,” said Wohlgemuth. 

“That’s a little bit of a bummer but quite honestly I’d rather have that than a pile of boxes and all kinds of other stuff sitting our on my curb,” said Johnson. 

With many people turning entirely to online shopping for Christmas gifts during the pandemic, neighbors told me they hope crews can keep up during the holidays. 

“We got a three and a half-year-old so all the gifts from Amazon are coming daily and it’s adding up pretty quick,” said Johnson. 

The city has apologized for the delays and says everyone should continue to put their garbage and recycling on the curb on their regularly scheduled day.

There’s three different recycling drop off centers people can use seven days a week, these are the addresses to those recycling centers:

  • Downtown- Mud Island Drive (North entrance of Mud Island Park)
  • Southeast - Hickory Hil Center | 3910 Ridgeway Road
  • East Memphis - South of Shelby Showplace Arena at the Agricenter International | off Germantown Parkway

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