After years without it, weekly recycling pickups will resume in March.

It must be an election year. After more than three years of off-and-on recycling services and interruptions, the city announced this month that weekly recycling pickups will resume the week of March 4. If your biweekly pickup day is Friday, then weekly service will continue on that same date.

“We still have a few steps to go, but I’m confident that we’re now on track to return to weekly recycling the first full week of March,” Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement.

This time last year, DPW’s then-director said it might take three years and hundreds of millions of dollars for new software, equipment and manpower to get the recycling guys back in service as they had been for many years prior to the pandemic. He left his job about that same time and has not been replaced.

But according to The Banner, the City received nine 2024 Peterbilt Model 220s last week — the order was placed in 2021 — and has hired new drivers and crew members to reduce the vacancy rate on the Department of Public Works’ solid waste team to 8.5%, the lowest since before the coronavirus pandemic.

DPW entirely suspended service “temporarily” for months during the pandemic in 2020, citing absenteeism caused by COVID. They then shifted to biweekly pickup, citing workforce disruptions and increased recycling tonnage as residents stayed home.

Scott brought back weekly services in January 2021, a month after his inauguration. But a year later, he cut back the service once again, citing staffing shortages. Earlier he had overseen a massive distribution of giant blue plastic cans citywide, and it was rumored that the larger cans incentivized residents to recycle more materials than the existing trucks and work force could manage.

Reduced recycling services has been a persistent frustration during Scott’s first term. The City Council has held marathon hearings questioning DPW officials, some spanning more than five hours, which eventually led to the director’s resignation “for family reasons.” A year has passed and Scott has not appointed a replacement.