Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

The omicron virus has struck the sanitation department and recycling is backed up a week to next week.

Curbside recycling has been delayed for yet another week for parts of New Orleans, as a surge in COVID-19 cases among drivers has forced they city’s contractors to dial back on a planned restart.  More than 30% of sanitation drivers are unable to work due to COVID-19, city sanitation officials said in a news release Monday, and the “severe” staffing shortage has caused delays for scheduled New Year’s pickups. Recycling was expected to begin this week for Uptown, Mid-City and Algiers for the first time since Hurricane Ida hit at the end of August. However, the new date is Jan. 10.

I put out the garbage for tomorrow and thought, recycle is on Wednesday! Then I saw this. I figured I was not alone! Jan 10 is also the week for Christmas tree pickups.

The city is divided into three service areas when it comes to trash pickup and curbside recycling. Richards Disposal is the primary contractor for Service Area 1, which covers upriver neighborhoods, Mid-City and Algiers. See the map for the eastbank and for the west bank. This area is expected to get recycling back Jan. 10. Service Area 2, which covers Lakeview, Gentilly, St. Roch, Bywater, Marigny, New Orleans East, the Lower 9th Ward and other areas east of the Industrial Canal, is served by Metro Service Group. See the map. That area, which was hardest hit by the weeks of missed pickups following Ida, will continue to go without recycling for the foreseeable future. Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration is planning to rebid the Metro Service Group contract in the first quarter of 2022. Recycling service is expected to resume once a new contractor is in place.

The administration has been under some fire for this delay, that is the delay from August.

The two service areas cover the vast majority of the city, with similar-size customer counts of roughly 75,000. Recycling is already active in the city’s third service area covering the French Quarter and parts of the Central Business District. [You can search your address through this city tool and see what collection area you are in.] Garbage collection fell behind in areas 1 and 2 on Dec. 30, according to Monday’s statement, and “contractor crews have been working to catch up through the weekend.” They were focusing Monday morning on missed collections and were preparing to shift to their regularly scheduled routes Monday afternoon, city officials said. Crews anticipate being back on schedule by the middle of this week. Officials asked residents to report missed garbage pickups by calling 311 or filling out the form on the city’s website.

Not, of course, that this time of year has a lot of boxes and other items that should be recycled but have been trashed. We are just filling up the trash pile.

Garbage only this week – recycle next week
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