COLUMBUS, Ohio — The City of Columbus' Environment Committee held a public hearing on Thursday to address citywide delays in yard waste pickup.
Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy hosted the meeting in conjunction with Rumpke Waste & Recycling, in what Remy said was an effort to be transparent with community members and get services back on track.
The yard waste company has cited a labor shortage as one of the reasons for missed pickups. Rumpke leaders say they are down roughly 20 drivers and are trying to hire more, but it takes time.
“I know there’s a lot of frustration out there,” said T.J. Black, recycling manager with the Division of Refuse Collection. “I’m fully convinced this Rumpke staff is working very, very hard and doing everything they can to get on top of this.”
The city says it’s aware of the issue and is charging Rumpke for missed pickups. Currently, Rumpke is in year five of a five-year contract with the city.
In an effort to get caught up, the city says it’s hosting weekly meetings with Rumpke to make sure services stay on track to the best of their ability.
Additionally, the city is working on a way to better notify residents ahead of time regarding when they can expect their yard waste to be picked up. City officials say this is an ongoing process.
A cost assessment of what it would take the city's Division of Refuse to replace Rumpke's services with its own came out to be a base of roughly $30 -$40 million, making it prohibitive at this time, according to officials.
Following concern from several central Ohio residents, 10TV’s Kevin Landers looked into the issue. Days after that story aired, a Rumpke truck was spotted on the same street where yard waste had been seen sitting for weeks.
Service requests for missed waste pickup are routed directly to Rumpke.
Those interested in filing a complaint can do so here.