COVID-19 kept many Fort Wayne residents at home this spring, and that's believed to be the cause of a substantial increase in garbage disposal.

"Many people believe that because we restricted refuse to 'carts only' during the statewide shutdown, they were throwing away less, but that's not the case at all," said Matt Gratz, Solid Waste manager for the City of Fort Wayne. "As households that usually didn't fill a cart were forced to stay at home and with many restaurants closed, disposable packaging began to fill carts to the brim. Additionally, residents were spending more time cleaning out closets and cabinets, doing yard and garden work and remodeling, resulting in a significant increase in waste coming from homes."

The spring of 2020 proved to be the most massive waste month of any spring in the City's residential collection history. It was an increase of 434,000 pounds or 217 tons.

"The extra waste may not seem like a significant issue, but when refuse fills a garbage or recycling truck, it must make additional trips each day to the landfill or the recycling sorting center to unload," the agency said in a statement. "These extra trips take trucks off their routes and cause things to back up."

"Another reason for the increase in tonnage is that the City’s program is a residential program," Gratz said. "As many people were working from home during the pandemic, waste usually disposed of at a place of work was now adding to the residential tonnage,. We are continuing our limitation to City issued 'Carts Only' to avoid further delays.”

Until further notice, weekly collection is limited to City-issued carts only. Additional bags, boxes and personal containers will not be collected. Residents can dispose of one bulk item per week. Bulk items include non-freon appliances and furniture. Mattresses and box springs are bulk items, but they must be bagged or wrapped with plastic when set out for collection.

Electronics and freon appliances will not be collected. For information on bulk items, visit www.cityoffortwayne.org/solid-waste.

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