Staying safe
Workers on garbage trucks dispatched across the coast are wearing masks in keeping with rules that changed today. Photo courtesy Republic Services

Trash and recycling services in Half Moon Bay remain uninterrupted despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis. While other waste management companies are reportedly looking at cutting back services because of a decline in revenue, Republic Services, which has a long-standing franchise agreement with the city, is in a different situation.

“We have continued to operate with no disruption of basic services during these unprecedented and challenging times,” Municipal Relationship Manager Monica Devincenzi said.

More than 40 solid waste and recycling company representatives, including Recology, signed a letter addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom in early April outlining impacts the

industry was taking dealing with COVID-19. The letter, among other things, asked for state funding to keep these companies afloat. Devincenzi said Republic Services did

not sign onto that letter because “we do not believe that services will be undercut nor do we believe that state funding support is required at this time.”

She said that as businesses modify their hours or close temporarily, Republic Services is working to reduce services as needed. While some jurisdictions in the state slash their recycling programs as a result of the pandemic, Republic Services is carrying on.

To protect workers, start times are staggered for trash collectors. A limited number of employees are allowed in the dispatch area at a time and staff is provided with gloves and masks.

“Most of these workers do their routes on their own so they have limited exposure to other people,” Devincenzi said.

Republic Services has not had to lay off any employees yet and all workers have health benefits. The waste management company also recently committed $20 million to provide all of its frontline workers a weekly meal for two months and gift cards for local restaurants in their community.

Devincenzi said residential trash is increasing because more people are staying at home all day.

“We have seen a noticeable increase in the residential streams due to residents being home at all times, and possibly having more family at home, such as college students,” she said.

That increase hasn’t impacted the basic services, but Republic Services did stop collecting bigger, bulky items while the shelter-in-place orders are in effect.

Devincenzi said Republic Services is still working to educate customers on what goes in what bin. She reiterated that used gloves, masks and other protective equipment belong in the trash, not on the ground or in recycling.

“Our goal is to continue to provide these essential services to the residents and businesses of Half Moon Bay while helping protect the health and safety of our employees,” she said.

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