As a result of the coronavirus pandemic residential waste has increased which is forcing some agencies, like the Greater Greenville Sanitation District in South Carolina, to halt recycling programs.
In mid-March, when stay-at-home orders were mandated by state governments, residential trash increased while commercial garbage collection dropped off. According to Steve Cole, executive director for the agency said the sanitation district typically collects 3,000 tons of residential garbage in a month, but now is picking up 4,400 tons per month. That difference is not covered by the decrease they’ve seen in commercial garbage collection, which has dropped from about 3,000 to 2,000 tons per month, he said.
The shift has required that the agency switch some recycling trucks to garbage pick up, Cole said. “I have to have all the trucks that I can get picking up garbage to pick it up in a day,” Cole said. “It’s a matter of resources.”
The recycling program is expected to last through the end of May but it could extend further.
The Greater Greenville Sanitation District is a special purpose district created in 1968 by the South Carolina Legislature, funded by taxes collected from residents in the district. The agency services about 57,000 people total in Greenville County, 8,800 of whom are also recycling customers, Cole said. It provides nonhazardous solid waste collection for the unincorporated areas of Greenville County, but is a separate entity from Greenville County’s government.
The cities of Greenville, Greer, Mauldin, Simpsonville, Travelers Rest and Fountain Inn have not changed their recycling pick-up services due to coronavirus.