CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Driving through neighborhoods in Chesapeake, you'll notice a common thing along each street: blue recycling bins sitting out on the curb. For many neighborhoods, those bins have been sitting out there for days.
Residents like Joel and Rhonda Palser put their bins out on Thursday night, so the recycling truck can come to pick them up on Friday. However, as of Tuesday, the residents are still waiting for the truck to come around.
"When the schedule is so sporadic, your garbage is sitting out for days at a time...not fun," said Joel Palser. "It's just an irritation in the neighborhood."
Chesapeake leaders voted to end the city-funded curbside recycling program at the end of June, but the Palsers didn't think they'd have to worry about getting their bins picked up while the program was still running.
TFC Recycling is the company that picks up these blue bins. A spokesman said a big reason behind the problem is that his team can't hire qualified drivers fast enough to meet the schedules.
The spokesman said this problem isn't new, but the staffing shortages remain a persistent challenge. The spokesman sent the following statement regarding the problem:
TFC Recycling continues to experience a shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers in Hampton Roads, an industry-wide challenge. Unfortunately, this ongoing labor shortage is impacting recycling collections in the city of Chesapeake and residents can expect a one or two-day delay in services.
Residents should continue to leave their Blue Cart out on the curb for collection as TFC will be completing collections as we get caught up. TFC Recycling is working with the city to ensure the service issues are communicated in a timely manner to all residents
TFC regrets this situation and apologizes to Chesapeake city residents for any inconvenience
Joel and Rhonda Palser said it's a persistent headache for them, especially after they learned city leaders changed the funding for the program. Joel Palser said if he's struggling now with his recycling, he’s not looking forward to when the curbside program ends in Chesapeake.
"We want recycling, but if you're going to ask me to pay taxes and then drive somewhere to get rid of my recycling, I think that's a double-dip by the city quite frankly," said Palser. "If we have no communication from the city, we'll just have garbage in the street."
The curbside recycling program in Chesapeake officially ends on June 30.
TFC Recycling managers ask residents to remain patient as they work to clear the bins as quickly as possible.