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Due to driver shortage, Waste Management won't begin separate collection citywide Monday

Due to driver shortage, Waste Management won't begin separate collection citywide Monday

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Citing a continued driver shortage, the city’s waste hauler won’t pick up trash and yard waste separately citywide starting Monday as planned.

Waste Management started separate collection east of 72nd Street last month. The company had planned to do the same in neighborhoods west of 72nd Street starting today, the Mayor’s Office had said.

Instead, Waste Management will collect trash and yard waste separately only in some neighborhoods west of 72nd Street — roughly to Interstate 680.

Yard waste collected separately goes to the compost plant to make Oma-Gro; trash and yard waste collected together go to the landfill.

Jim Theiler, assistant director of Public Works, said Waste Management recently submitted a plan of operations for separate collection in areas east of roughly Interstate 680. The city approved it. No penalties have been discussed, he said.

“What they’re doing is demonstrating they’re doing everything they can to, one, make sure garbage is collected every day and, two, doing everything they can to get the drivers necessary,” Theiler said.

That includes job fairs and hiring bonuses. Waste Management earlier this year announced that it would offer a $2,000 bonus to some employees and new hires who stay a year and also advertised a $4,500 bonus for some new experienced drivers.

Waste Management is supposed to collect trash and yard waste separately across the city from April to about Thanksgiving, a total of 35 weeks.

Last year, the company collected separately in all parts of the city for only 14 weeks. Some members of the Omaha City Council have voiced concern about Waste Management not meeting the terms of its contract.

It’s not clear when Waste Management plans to collect trash and yard waste separately citywide this year. Theiler said the city will work with the company to move separate collection farther west as more drivers are hired.

emily.nohr@owh.com, 402-444-1309

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