Columbia landfill recycling continues during curbside pick-up suspension

By Paul Ploumis

Columbia city leaders continued plans to address curbside recycling problems Monday. City utility officials suspended the service until further notice last Wednesday.

Columbia utility administrators said they couldn’t find and hire enough qualified people willing to drive residential curbside recycling trucks. All drivers must have a CDL or commercial driver’s license.

Columbia utility crews at the city landfill wanted people to continue their recycling efforts at drop off locations even though curbside service was under suspension. City leaders said finding buyers for some recycling materials was difficult, if not impossible. Utility crews concentrated on garbage pick-up instead of recycling during their truck driver shortage.

Recovery Superintendent Nicholas Paul said, “There are only 5 trucks on recycling and 8, sometimes 9 trucks on trash. Where do you pick up first? The stuff that’s going to rot and cause rodents, we have to pick that up. It’s medically not a good idea.”

Columbia voters rejected a plan several years ago calling for roll carts to replace curbside pick-up bags. City leaders said roll carts remained an option as they made plans for recycling collection.

Paul said, “Keep recycling. It’s going to be picked up. It’s not going to be at the curb, it’s at a drop off site. We want the recycling.”

Columbia has 11 recycling drop off locations. City leaders were thinking about adding some more drop off locations, especially on the north side of town.