Central Michigan communities continue to face delays in recycling and garbage pickup. Some townships in Midland and Gladwin counties are expecting a recovery this week or next week.

Republic Services, a solid waste collection company, has provided garbage and recycling collection to hundreds of Michigan townships and municipalities for nearly three decades. Many communities in Midland and Gladwin counties, and elsewhere in the state, have been waiting weeks for Republic to pick up their trash and/or recycling.

In Gladwin County, Butman Township Clerk Alayna Alexander said in a recorded message that Republic Services plans to pick up trash on Tuesday, June 22, and recycling collection will begin next week.

Butman Township has already decided to switch to another waste management company. Alexander said the township will work with American Waste GFL starting in July. She said the company has been very helpful, even though her contract doesn’t start until next month.

“Our new company, American Waste GFL, will be delivering trash cans this week, the week of the 21st, and recycling cans the week of the 28th,” the recording reads. “If you haven’t requested a recycling box, please leave your address and we’ll put you on the list and provide you with a recycling box.”

In Midland County, Jerome Township Supervisor Mike Wood said Republic told him the long-awaited recycling pickup would arrive soon after a nearly two-month delay. Garbage collection continued without delay.

“I was promised it’s going to be caught up here,” he said. “He didn’t give me an exact date, but I expect it will be during our next normal pickup, which I believe will be next week.”

Wood explained the payment process for waste and recycling services. Garbage and recycling is paid for with an annual fee of $180, broken down into approximately $8 per month for garbage pickup and $3 per month for recycling pickup. The remainder of the $180 is a variable “dump” fee, per ton of trash the garbage truck empties into the landfill, estimated each year by township officials based on the previous year.

Wood said the township will ask Republic to reimburse township residents for nearly two months of lost service.

He also discussed the possible long-term financial implications of combining recycling and waste.

“If you don’t recycle, it goes in the trash and your (annual) landfill costs go up because you have more tonnage,” he said.

Jerome Township is also considering switching to American Waste GFL after the township’s current contract with Republic ends in December 2022.

Republic Services of Flint provided a statement to Midland Daily News last week regarding the delays. The company said the delays are due to a labor shortage that many industries are facing.

“Many industries are currently facing staffing challenges, and the recycling and waste disposal industry is no different,” Republic said. “Republic Services appreciates our customers’ understanding and cooperation during this time. We will continue to carefully monitor the needs of our customers and our communities with the supply and availability of our talent and adjust our efforts to attract, engage and retain talent accordingly.