The city of Tuscaloosa's Environmental Services Department will resume its curbside collections by November 2nd, Mayor Walt Maddox said this week.

The city's curbside collection was briefly suspended in early April due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 but was quickly reinstated. The service was put on hold again in July, but this time the root problem was manpower -- COVID cases and increased waste was putting a strain on the Environmental Services Department and put at risk the city's ability to regularly continue collecting trash and garbage.

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Since July, anyone who wanted to recycle had to take their own refuse to one of 15 recycling drop-off sites around Tuscaloosa, but Stacy Vaugn, Director of Public Services, said the latest City Hall data available shows that the ESD staff is 100 percent COVID-free, virtually guaranteeing the program can resume next month.

Vaughn said since the local onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, there has been a roughly 20 - 40 percent increase in trash volume -- that's the limbs, grass clippings and other non-garbage waste collected on the side of the road in Tuscaloosa, not the what is picked up from cans each week.

Vaughn said between the increased amount of trash, COVID cases in the department and the ongoing strain of garbage and recycling pickup, the city's trash collection fell behind significantly, which was untenable in the long term.

"Our priority is trash collection, and we want to ensure that service is always available to the community," Vaughn said.

City Hall instituted a universal hiring freeze in March, but Vaughn said that has been lifted for Environmental Services specifically and she expects their staff to be full replenished by November.

For those who still prefer to deliver their recyclables to a manned site, you can still do so at the following sites from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • Mondays – McDonald Hughes Community Center, 3101 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • Tuesdays – Skyland Elementary School, 408 Skyland Blvd. E.
  • Wednesdays – Bowers Park, 1600 James I Harrison Jr. Parkway and Alberta School of Performing Arts, 2700 University Blvd. E.
  • Thursdays – Sokol Park, 5260 Watermelon Road.
  • Mon-Fri. – Richard A Curry Environmental Complex, 3340 Kauloosa Ave.

To learn more, or to request a curbside collection bin, visit the City of Tuscaloosa website.