Is it trash day? Arlington Co. says labor shortage, hot weather hampers garbage pickup

Virginia’s Arlington County warns residents that summer could pose “something of a challenge” for curbside pick-up of trash, recycling, and organics.

In an email, the county said a number of factors are contributing to the situation, in which bins and bags brought to the curb in the morning are still full when residents return at the end of the day.

“The County’s contractor is dealing with a jobs market that strongly favors indoor work amid early record heat and commercial driver shortages, plus supply chain issues are affecting maintenance of current trucks and arrival dates for new ones,” according to the county email, dated June 3.

“This is a challenge that many jurisdictions are facing, regionally and nationally.”

Crews service about 6,500 households per day in Arlington,

“We’re seeing a rising number of collection routes not being completed until the next day, particularly for green organics carts that are often the last serviced due to routing based on processing facility locations,” according to the county.

If weekly service is missed, the county asks you report it online. Leave the full bins at the curb until the next day.

According to the county, “recycling and trash crews generally start catching up the following morning, but organics misses are not typically collected until the following afternoon.”

The county said it appreciates residents’ patience, points out June 17 to June 23 is Waste and Recycling Workers Week this year.

“It helps to remember that the people working the collection trucks aren’t in it for the glamour,” writes the county. “A friendly wave, thumbs-up or even a note of thanks taped to a cart is always appreciated.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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