Rivanna Solid Waste Authority seeing decrease in trash and recycling even with more people at home

Rivanna Solid Waste seeing less trash and recycling

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With more people staying home, you may expect an uptick in the amount of garbage being generated, but the director of the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority says he is seeing a decrease in the amount of trash and recycling overall.

Phil McKalips says with a halt in construction and decrease in commercial demand, the overall trash and recycling numbers are down. “We’re starting to see the amount of waste that we receive at our Ivy transfer station diminish," he said.

Trash does not just happen at home, and with more people out of the office, companies are producing less waste. “We think that’s just because of construction projects, people’s renovation projects are sort of large generators, some of those are slowing down,” McKalips said.

Some individuals who are working from home say that does not necessarily mean they’re generating more waste. “I’m trying not to do as much plastic because that’s harder to recycle, but I think it’s about the same amount of trash as usually," Albemarle County resident Donna Cattell-Gordon said.

While overall trash and recycling numbers are down, one data point has actually increased. “We’re seeing an increase in the number of people, but they’re bringing small stuff because they’re cleaning out closets,” McKalips said.

With some finding more time on their hands throughout the week, dropping off waste is not necessarily reserved for weekends anymore. "You know they can come at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday now because everybody is home,” McKalips said.

That is creating problems for some who have always tried to avoid the weekend rush. “I’ve been trying to figure out a time when other people won’t be here, which is hard," Cattell-Gordon said.

To keep people safe, the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority has made several adjustments to its facilities. “We’re walking around and periodically spraying down all the composting cans, the handrails," McKalips said.

Due to an inability to properly sanitize items - the book bin at the McIntire Road Recycling Center and the Encore Shop at Ivy Material Utilization Center - have both temporarily closed.

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