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Everybody staying at home = more garbage = $2 COVID trash surcharge

Residential trash volume has gone up 15%, estimated Michael Parkowski of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority.

A trash hauler based in New Castle has reluctantly and temporarily added a fee to cover increased volume associated with the coronavirus.

“We hate to include a fee and struggled with the idea of adding it to cover the expense of this higher volume of trash,” Evergreen Waste Services wrote in a letter to customers.

The fee is $2 per month and was introduced in bills that went out for August. Since Evergreen bills by the quarter, it’s appearing as a $6 surcharge.

“After seeing March [volume] increase by almost 30% we though we could manage it but then April and May came in just over 30% and we decided we would have to include the $2 a month COVID RESPONSE fee,” the letter continued. “Please know we don’t anticipate having to keep this on the bill and as people start going back to work and pounds per home go down, we will be removing this fee.”

Trash is one of many industries affected by the coronavirus restrictions. 

Residential trash volume, with so many people working from home or without jobs to go to, has gone up 15%, estimated Michael Parkowski, chief of business and governmental services at the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. Volume from hotels, restaurants and other businesses with dumpsters has gone down. The volume of construction trash is about the same.

Evergreen, which primarily serves residential customers in New Castle County, faces a different issue than trash haulers that service multiple sectors and geographic markets.

“Due to the increase in volume at the curb, most haulers have adjusted their service levels,” the letter continued. “For example, some suspended yard waste, recycle and bulk items outside of their company containers. However, we have been doing business as usual with no changes in service.”

Representatives of Republic Services, which operates in 41 states and Puerto Rico, and Waste Management, which calls itself “North America’s largest waste solution provider,” said they are not adding any coronavirus surcharges in Delaware.

TrashTech, another hauler based in New Castle, is “not charging a coronavirus surcharge at this time,” according to Chief Financial Officer Kevin Liebman. “Although we are incurring higher than normal disposal, we feel it is best at this time not to add additional costs to our loyal customers when many of them are going through financial hardships of their own.”

News reports from around the country have noticed coronavirus surcharges for airlines, dentists, hotels and salons, billed to handle increased costs for cleaning and personal protective equipment.

Jordan Goodman of MoneyAnswers.com expects such surcharges to become the new normal.

“I think it’s actually not a bad thing to support the local businesses to have protective equipment,” he told CBS New York. “Because the last thing you want to do is have this spread.”

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