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Some Milton residents face trash pickup lapses

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MILTON, Ga. — If you’re seeing trash pile up in your neighborhood and wondering when it’ll be collected, you’re not alone.

Milton’s two largest trash service providers, Republic Services and Waste Management, are both facing staffing shortages due to employees contracting COVID-19. The city released a statement Jan. 11 acknowledging residents may face “days-long” delays in pickups.

Kathy Flagg, a Milton resident and Republic customer, said she and others in her neighborhood have lacked trash service since before Christmas. She said that every week, she has received a text from Republic saying that her trash collection has been delayed by a day, but collectors haven’t come at all.

“We’ve got overflowing bins,” Flagg said. “Some of the neighbors last week took it upon themselves to find a whole new service. Apparently, a bunch of them canceled their service with Republic.”

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Waste Management Senior Community Relations Specialist Marla Prince said the company has faced isolated service disruptions but is working to limit the lapses.

With COVID-19 cases in Georgia still at record high levels, there’s no definitive answer to when services will return to normal.

“At this point, we are not sure when the disruptions will end, but we are continuing to do everything we can to resolve the issue,” Prince said.

On Jan. 4, Republic suspended recycling, yard waste and bulk item collection to prioritize household waste. Two days later, Waste Management also suspended recycling and bulk item collection.

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While the suspensions have created challenges, Flagg said she is hesitant to switch to the new service her neighbors chose because it doesn’t offer recycling.

“We usually have more recycling in our trash than we do trash, so I don’t want to switch,” Flagg said. “I’m really hopeful that Republic can pick up our trash and start recycling again, but I really don’t want to switch to a company that’s not offering recycling at all.”

After weeks without trash service, Flagg said Republic came to collect trash in her neighborhood Jan. 11.

The city’s statement notes that Milton does not have a direct role in waste collection services and urges residents with concerns to contact their service provider. The city also posted the statement to its Facebook page, where it has amassed more than 60 comments, many from residents voicing issues with their service providers.

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While recycling pickups are paused, residents can bring recyclables to Keep North Fulton Beautiful in Sandy Springs, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials in Atlanta and either location of the Pickens County Recycling Center. Common recyclables like cardboard, paper and low-number plastics can be recycled at these locations for free. Some fees may apply to other items.

Milton Communications Director Greg Botelho said the city is working with its waste management partners to explore alternatives for residents. He said residents may drop trash off at Eagle Point Landfill in Ball Ground, although the location is around 30 minutes away. The landfill also charges a minimum fee of $25 for dumping.

Reach Jake Drukman at 770-847-8334. Follow him on Twitter @DrukmanJake.

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