Contractor staff shortage leads to Montgomery Co. recycling pickup slip

BETHESDA, Md. — For weeks, residents in portions of Silver Spring and Bethesda have had their recycling and yard waste lingering at their curbs.

Montgomery County’s Acting Director of Solid Waste Services in the Department of Environmental Protection said the problem centers on a contractor’s staff shortage.

Bill Broglie said staffing issues at Potomac Disposal has affected the pickup of both recycling and yard waste in Silver Spring and Bethesda.

“We’re trying to work with Potomac [Disposal] to make sure that they can get to those routes, so that it’s not two weeks since the yard trim gets collected”, Broglie told WTOP.

Under Potomac Disposal’s contract with the county, crews have until 9 p.m. to collect recycling and yard trim.

“There were instances where they were late into the night, and in some instances [pickup] spilled into the next day,” and that meant homeowners found their recycling or bagged yard waste waiting for at least a week or more for pickup, Broglie said.

“The level of service that Potomac [Disposal] is providing right now is not acceptable,” he said.

A check of Potomac Disposal’s website showed that the company is hiring both drivers and “helpers,” those workers that collect the bins and dump the contents into the truck. Broglie said “obviously they need to have a sufficient number of crews.”

This isn’t the first time that Potomac Disposal had labor issues: In 2013 crews went on strike over wages and benefits. In 2016, Montgomery County recovered more than $300,000 in unpaid wages from five firms: Potomac Disposal was one of those firms.

WTOP has contacted the company for comment, but they did not respond by the time of publication.

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