Civic News
Municipal government / Technology

Curbside recycling is back in Baltimore, and drivers are using some new tech

As weekly collection resumes for the first time in months, the city is implementing software to digitize route information.

Please recycle. Photo by Bill Smith

Curbside recycling is returning to Baltimore on Tuesday (1/19) with a new digitized system to help drivers navigate collection routes.

The return comes more than four months after the City suspended weekly recycling collections as it faced a shortage of workers amid the pandemic. Mayor Brandon Scott announced the restart last week, and talked about a new push behind the service.

“I’ve initiated weekly RecycleStat meetings to monitor recycling and trash pickup and ensure residents get the services they deserve,” Scott said in a statement. “Only 15% of our population recycles. I want Baltimore to use the restart of services to dramatically increase that number as we work to divert recycling from our landfills and build a more environmentally sustainable City.”

As the service starts back up, the city will be using the RUBICONSmartCity routing software to improve efficiency in pickup, both for trash and recycling. According to city officials, this system digitizes route sheets and details, as well as inspections.

“The implementation of RUBICONSmartCity technology provides Solid Waste drivers with turn-by-turn information,” Matthew W. Garbark, acting director of the Baltimore Department of Public Works, said in a statement. “This new technology is especially beneficial to new drivers servicing unfamiliar neighborhoods.”

Recycling days and locations remain unchanged, and residents can check the Recycling Day Map online or call 311 to check their recycling day.

For those that have been using the community collection centers during the recycling pick up hiatus, the collection centers will be operating on a modified schedule, beginning Wednesday. Now, they are only open only two days a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until February 27, when only the five permanent Citizens’ Convenience Centers will be available.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

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