Philadelphia residents should put their trash out a day later than usual this week as the city catches up on collecting garbage, the Streets Department said Sunday.
Garbage has piled up on sidewalks during the coronavirus pandemic as sanitation workers call out sick in large numbers. Highways Division workers and staff from other departments helped pick up trash over the weekend, cutting down the collection delays from three to four days to one to two days, Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams said Sunday.
Still, residents should expect delays this week as collection crews prioritize trash not picked up from last week. The department asked residents to put their garbage out at least a day later than their regular schedule, but said some waste may be picked up one to two days late in some parts of the city.
The Streets Department will also expand operating hours of its Sanitation Convenience centers, where residents can throw out their garbage without delays. Starting Monday, the centers will be open seven days a week. Residents must show proof of residency with either a driver’s license or utility bill verifying their address. Center locations and hours can be found at PhiladelphiaStreets.com.
The department said it will prioritize trash collection, so picking up recyclables could take longer. The department asked residents to not call 311 unless collection delays are at least four days behind.
“We understand the public’s concern over delayed collections and thank them for their patience and cooperation as we work toward returning to a regular collection schedule during this pandemic,” the department said in a statement.
With trash piling up on sidewalks, the department temporarily instructed sanitation workers to throw recycled material in with regular trash and has forced some to work mandatory overtime shifts, the Inquirer has reported. The delays got so bad last week that City Councilmember Brian J. O’Neill called on Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration to hire private trash collectors.