PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s happening again. Trash and recycling is piling up in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. Over the past two weeks, residents are once again experiencing significant lapses in their garbage and recycling pickup.
It’s a very similar scene to one year ago during the height of the pandemic.READ MORE: Delaware To Require COVID-19 Vaccine Or Weekly Testing For K-12 Educators, Contractors And Volunteers
You may remember the city saw lapses up to four weeks last summer during the height of COVID-19. The city doesn’t want to see that happen again.
According to the Streets Department, they are promoting part-time workers, ramping up hiring and even redeploying internal staff all to help with pick up.
Normally, it would really only be the city’s littlest residents, excited to see garbage trucks pull up.
“We were so happy. I hear a trash truck,” Eleanor Kazden said.
After two weeks without a pickup, Kazden and Gary King finally saw their recyclables shipped off Friday morning from the Hawthorne section of the city. It hadn’t been since the height of the pandemic that they and many others had experienced such a lapse.
“It was fine until two weeks ago,” Kazdan said.
Residents had been advised by the Streets Department to continue putting out their trash or recyclables on their scheduled pickup day, but to anticipate delays. Every other neighborhood we visited was still at least a day behind.READ MORE: Black Doctor's COVID-19 Consortium Offering COVID-19 Booster Shots To Those With Compromised Immune Systems
In a statement to Eyewitness News, the Philadelphia Streets Department said, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the Department with collection of significantly higher levels of residential trash tonnage due to people remaining in their homes for extended periods of time.”
It added, that like other industries across the country, the department is currently struggling with hiring and employee retention.
“Many employees are selecting other opportunities for employment with less strenuous work and more competitive salaries,” the statement said.
“I think they are doing the best they can in a difficult situation,” Queen Village resident Jake Kind said.
As for a baffling situation, imagine putting your trash out on its scheduled day and getting a $50 to $100 fine.
A handful of residents reported that happening in these past two weeks, including Kind.
“I put my trash out at the regular time and they didn’t pick it up for a week and then they gave me a ticket for it being out too early the following week,” he said.MORE NEWS: 'We Will Never Forget' 9/11 Banner Displayed At World Trade Center Stops In Delaware County
While the city is working to increase its staffing levels, it is urging residents to cut down on household waste.