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January 04, 2022

Trash pick-up delays expected in Philly over coming weeks due to COVID-19 absences

The Streets Department encourages residents to continue putting their garbage out on the assigned days

Government Trash Collection
Philly trash delays Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The Philadelphia Streets Department says there will be trash and recycling pick-up delays through the end of the week and most likely into next week due to COVID-19-related staffing shortages.

Philly residents looking to rid themselves of garbage collected over the holidays may have some trouble. The Philadelphia Streets Department is expecting delays in trash and recycling pickup and isn't sure when things will return back to normal.

The delays began on Monday and are expected to continue into at least next week, as the department deals with a wave of COVID-19-related absences.

The department tweeted that they don't know exactly how long the delays will last, as the number of employees available fluctuates on a daily basis.

"We foresee these challenges moving into the following weeks as we work through COVID-19 infections and quarantining in our workforce," one tweet by the department read. 

"We apologize for this inconvenience," another tweet said.

At present, there are only slight delays in trash pick-up, while recycling is a full day or more behind in some areas. Residents are asked to continue placing their garbage out on the assigned day. 

Those who wish to dispose of their trash themselves can take it to any one of the city's Sanitation Convenience Centers on Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In the comments on the Twitter thread, there was some sympathy and practical advice for the city's trash collectors.

"Totally understand the COVID issues," Lisa Mundy tweeted. "Prioritize the regular trash and leave the (recycling) cans till next week."

She said that while her regularly scheduled pick-up is on Mondays, a truck came through on Tuesday and dumped her recycling and trash into the same compartment.

Another user complained that the delays are not new in Port Richmond. There, recycling reportedly hasn't been picked up since before Christmas.

This is not the first time the pandemic has caused delays with the Streets Department's trash pick-up. Early on during the public health crisis, the department repeatedly had to make changes to its regular pick-up schedule due to COVID-related difficulties, extreme weather and holidays.

The Department of Streets is not the only arm of the city government that struggled this week due to a surge in COVID-19 infections.

On Tuesday, 81 of the city's school districts switched to virtual learning due to a combination of weather issues and COVID-related absences. Of those, 77 are expected to remain online at least through the end of this week.

Students and parents whose schools have switched to virtual learning can still pick up meals at sites around the city. A list is available at the bottom of the school district's closure page.