Waste Management mixing trash, yard waste in JoCo as pandemic forces company to adapt

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — The ongoing pandemic is causing some companies to shift how they handle the waste you put on the curb.

Video shared from a FOX4 viewer shows a Waste Management worker throwing both trash and yard waste into the same truck, ultimately heading for the same landfill.

“This is a short-term, short-term solution,” said Paul Howe, community relations manager for the company.

Waste Management typically has three separate pickups for trash, yard waste and recycling. However, Howe said they’ve experienced a shortage in workers due to COVID-19 and have had to adjust.

“We felt it was important to focus on our core collection business, and we describe that core as the trash and recycle,” he explained.

Normally, yard waste is banned from the landfill, but Waste Management asked for, and received, temporary permission from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to ignore the ban.

Recycling is still going to recycling centers.

Howe said the temporary ban allows them to maximize routes and labor force. Still, he encouraged customers to not change their habits.

“We still ask the customer to continue to put it out in the biodegradable bags, keep it separate from the other containers,” he said. “And we did that for a reason, that is we anticipate this ending.”

The change in service only applies to communities in Johnson County that utilize Waste Management services. Howe said the temporary ban at the landfill is valid through Sept. 5.

Service will return to normal operations on Sept. 7.

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