SWANA Addresses Current Labor Shortage in Solid Waste Collection Services


Includes recommendations in response to continuing impact of COVID pandemic

Silver Spring, MD – The hiring and retention of drivers and helpers to provide solid waste and recycling collection services is a growing challenge for public sector and private sector service providers. The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) analyzes the current worker shortage and proposes short and long-term solutions in a new, two-page paper responding to the impact of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for some companies and agencies to attract and retain collection workers, which is causing service disruptions,” observes David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director & CEO. “Solid waste is not the only industry facing this challenge, and this paper provides some useful suggestions for how local governments and companies should address the situation.”

SWANA’s Applied Research Foundation (ARF) published a report in February 2020, Recruiting Personnel for Solid Waste Collection Services, which addressed the driver shortage issue faced by waste and recycling collection service providers before the COVID pandemic. The pandemic has had substantial impacts on solid waste collection, including making it difficult for some companies and agencies to maintain service levels. SWANA has updated its research to include this information and provides short-term and long-term solutions in the paper.

“The SWANA document released today builds on a report prepared by the SWANA Applied Research Foundation (ARF) that was sponsored by the ARF’s Collection Research Group and published in February 2020,” states Jeremy O’Brien, SWANA Applied Research Director. “SWANA would like to recognize the local governments that participate in this Group – Charlotte, NC; Durham, NC; Miami-Dade County, FL; Clearwater, FL; Pensacola, FL; Phoenix, AZ; and Tucson, AZ; - and encourage other municipalities to join the ARF and the Collection Research Group.”

To download the document, “Addressing the Current Labor Shortage in Solid Waste Collection Services,” click here.

Download the executive summary of the ARF report Recruiting Personnel for Solid Waste Collection Services here.

View more of SWANA’s COVID-19 resources by visiting



The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

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