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Supply chain issues, COVID surge cause major delays in recycling pickup

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Recycling bin

Recycling bin

Blue recycling bins are lining the streets of Huntsville as major recycling delays have residents waiting weeks for pickup.

"It's COVID-related, it's supply chain-related — everyone has the same issues," explained Doc Holladay, executive director for Solid Waste Disposal Authority.

The Recycling Alliance of North Alabama is feeling the impact of shipping delays and the recent Covid-19 surge.

"We're down to about half the number of drivers we would normally have," said Holladay.

With half of their drivers in quarantine, blue bins full of cans, cardboard, paper and plastic have been stacking up in the streets of Huntsville. Holladay said recycling pickup is one full week behind schedule.

"If your collection day was today, it will almost be next Friday before we get to you right now," he said.

The waste disposal industry has been struggling throughout the pandemic. RANA's collection contractor, Red River Waste Solutions, filed for bankruptcy back in October.

However, Holladay said, that was just a way for their contractor to restructure the business and has nothing to do with the current delays.

"In this instance, the two are not related," said Holladay.

For now, he is asking the 80,000 homes with blue bins to be patient.

"We understand the public's frustration, and we're really appreciative of those that have been very understanding about it," he said.

He's asking people to remember the green value brought by the blue bins.

"We think it's a valuable program for our community. We think it makes the quality of life here better and we hope more people will participate," he said.

Holladay said it will be at least another three weeks before everything is back on schedule.

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