'Staffing limitations' prompt trash collection to be moved to every other week in Smyrna

Waste Management rushes to meet rising demand
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 22:13:30-04

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A nationwide shortage of drivers has delayed trash collection for Waste Management across parts of Middle Tennessee.

The company is rushing to pick up garbage from Smyrna, Lavergne, and Antioch that some neighbors say has been sitting around for weeks.

Off Mason Tucker Drive in Smyrna, it’s easy to spot the green trash bins. It’s even easier to follow the smell. Russ Matthews lives nearby and says it’s embarrassing to know you’re one of only a few to have your garbage sitting out for everyone to see.

“If we didn’t pay, then we’d take care of it ourselves. But we’re paying for the service, so we expect the service just like anything else,” Matthews said.

Having lived in Smyrna for the last ten years, Matthews had a feeling something like this would happen after garbage wasn’t picked up the first week. He went ahead and got a second trash can. One bin is filled with trash from before the July 4 holiday, while the other continues to pile on. He's since run out of space.

“If I did my job like this, then I’d be fired in a week,” Matthews said.

Waste Management sent us this statement which includes details on benefits for anyone interested in a full-time job:

“Waste Management is dedicated to taking care of our customers. Due to the driver shortage being experienced, in some areas, we are temporarily adjusting service plans so that we can continue to provide the exceptional service our customers expect. Nationally, Waste Management and the rest of the waste industry compete in a labor market that has a shortage of CDL drivers and technicians. As many areas are opening, we have a need to add skilled team members to our WM family. WM provides full-time employees and their families with comprehensive medical benefits, a generous 401(k) plan, and an Employee Stock Purchase Plan that allows employees to buy WM stock at a minimum 15% discount. WM’s new benefit program, Your Tomorrow, in collaboration with Guild Education, is the first-of-its-kind program providing WM employees, as well as their eligible dependents, the opportunity to choose from a full range of education options, including earning a college degree, at no cost to the employee. To find current job openings, visit the WM Careers website - [].”

Amanda Agee lives down the street from Matthews and got a different email. It explained how Waste Management intends to pick up garbage they missed by the end of the week. Once that’s complete, customers can expect a few changes in her area.

Beginning Monday 7/26 and ending 8/27, Waste Management will operate on an every other week service plan based on “staffing limitations.” Service days should remain the same, but customers can expect details later this week on which homes will get service in the first or second week. Agee understands the delay but says it’s still up to Waste Management to live up to the service she and others agreed to.

“I don’t think we should be paying a full month when it’s only going to be every other week,” Agee said.

Agee considered bringing her trash to the local collection center but says many of these places close long before she’s done with work. You then have to consider that they too could become full with everyone bringing trash in at once. Although the new Waste Management policy is temporary, Agee says it almost guarantees that trash will stay on the street just as long.