Baltimore City, MD— Monday, June 27, 2022 —  The city agency with the largest budget, DPW continues to fail to perform the most routine and basic city service; curbside recycling collection. This failure to pick up recycling is leading to the reduction of recycling rates, increased trash, and creating an unfair burden on the solid waste workers who are now forced to collect double the amount of materials for the every other week collection day. These workers are subjected to working longer hours to complete their routes. DPW has NOT been adequately compensating these workers for this increased workload. After one of the longest budget hearings in this council's history, DPW could NOT answer simple questions about the missed collections or what the plan is to resume weekly recycling collections. 

In article 23 of the city code under subtitle 1, it says:

“The Director of Public Works has charge of the following services, as authorized or required to be done by the City:” 

“(2) the collection and removal of mixed refuse and recyclable materials.”

It then goes on to say: 

(2) the collection of recyclable materials once a week.”

The city code is clear. The director of DPW is required by city code/law to pick up recycling once a week. For the majority of Director Mitchell’s tenure, this has not happened. The city code doesn’t yet state a penalty for violating this code. 

This is a blatant double standard. The code issues financial penalties to the taxpayers of Baltimore when we have trash/recycling left on our property. This often happens after collections are missed and the recycling piles up or when animals get into our uncollected cans. The violation of the city code by DPW goes unpunished, yet the consequence and burden on our residents of DPW in violating the city code results in financial penalties. 

It’s time to end the double standard. If we are to hold the residents of Baltimore accountable, we first need to hold the city agencies accountable to do their part. 

DPW needs to immediately release a short-term plan on when they will resume weekly recycling collections. If not, the director should be subject to financial penalties in the same manner as our constituents.