As COVID-19 has shuttered businesses and schools across the country, Bay Area waste and recycling companies are seeing dramatic shifts in waste composition.
In an article by Bay City News, Richmond, California-based Bay Cities Refuse notes that commercial accounts have had notable drop-offs in volume in the California counties of Marin and Contra Costa it services.
“We did see a shift with the commercial accounts,” Bay Cities Refuse General Manager Greg Christie says. "Restaurants and office buildings, those types of businesses, probably dropped like 80 or 90 percent.”
Christie also noted that pickup frequency had been significantly reduced among its restaurant clients from around six times per week to one.
The flip side of the coin is that with more people staying home, ordering in and cooking, residential volumes have increased by at least 25 percent for the company.
Recology, San Francisco, noted that it has seen a 5 percent daily increase in compost, recycling and garbage collection from residential homes and apartment complexes, with a 20 percent decrease in commercial collections.
But despite recycling services being deemphasized in some communities throughout the U.S. during the pandemic, Recology says being vigilant in collecting these items remains critical.
"I feel it's more important than ever that we all do our part at this time and we continue to recycle and compost," Recology spokesman Robert Reed says.
"Recycle your cardboard because you're going to order something else online and they're going to need a cardboard box to send it to you, and recycled paper is made into toilet paper and food scraps get used to feed the soil and grow healthy food, and that comes back to your table," Reed says.