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Half-dozen hires still needed for Columbia recycling pickup to start back up

A file photo of recyclable material sitting on the curb in Columbia on May 19, 2023.
A file photo of recyclable material sitting on the curb in Columbia on May 19, 2023.


Columbia Solid Waste needs to make at least six more hires before it can restart curbside recycling pickup, according to the department's director.

Columbia Utilities director David Sorrell said Monday night that the department would likely need to hire six more refuse collectors to once again pick up the blue recycling bags at the curb.

The city canceled residential recycling pick-up in May due to short staffing. Residents have had to take recycling to the city's public drop-off sites around town in the meantime.

The conversation started when Fourth Ward Councilman Nick Foster asked for an update on the recycling situation. Sorrell told the Columbia City Council on Monday that his department had been reviewing different staffing combinations and frequencies to see how they could resume curbside recycling pickup. Sorrell said that each of them necessitated the hiring of six new collectors to "start that back up and actually be able to perform it on a consistent basis."

Columbia Solid Waste continues to use temporary staffing agency PeopleReady to help fill open spots on the refuse collection team. Refuse collectors are offered a starting salary of $17 an hour, while senior refuse collector salaries start at $18.70 an hour. Sorrell said the city keeps the jobs posted on its website until they are filled.

"We're trying to fill them," Sorrell said. "We're not having a whole lot of success. Sometimes you fill one and you lose one."

Mayor Barbara Buffaloe said the council would try to support any innovations to get the jobs filled.

The city reported picking up more than 100 tons of recyclable material from the drop-off sites in the first two weeks of June, according to city records obtained by ABC 17 News that month.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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