Many local residents have used the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting social distancing guidelines to get some projects or spring cleaning done around the house. The town’s trash and recycling contractor has taken notice.
According to Renee LaFollete, director of Leesburg’s Public Works & Capital Projects Department, Patriot Disposal Services has reported a 20 percent increase in the volume collected of both trash and recycling in town. These figures mirror regional and national trends, with some localities reporting as much as a 40 percent increase, LaFollete said.
She added that town staff members are working with Patriot on a nine-step contingency plan. The first step, a suspension of bulk item collection, has already been taken and began March 23. The second step, also already taken, was to reduce the number of trash collections in the downtown business area. Previously, trash had been collected six days a week, but now it is only being picked up on the same days as downtown business recycling collection—Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. While trash volume is up town-wide, in the downtown commercial area it has reduced by 50 percent, due to many businesses either being closed or scaling back operations.
For the time being there are no changes to the town’s Monday yard waste collection; however, that could change if Patriot has further staff reductions. LaFollete said the company currently has five staff members on leave, either due to them being suspected of having the coronavirus, or because they have come into contact with someone who was diagnosed.
“If they lose another three to five staff members, they will be looking at some sort of reduction for yard waste,” LaFollete said. “We have to protect their staff.”
More information on town trash and recycling collection, and updated guidelines on collection during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be found at leesburgva.gov/trash.