Chesapeake experiencing 'extreme delays' in recycling collection weeks before curbside recycling program contract ends

TFC Recycling.JPG
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 15:31:20-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The City of Chesapeake is experiencing extreme delays in recycling collection.

According to the city, TFC, or the Tidewater Fiber for Curbside Recycling, estimates the backlog to be longer than two weeks; however, city officials say they're "hearing reports" of it being even longer in some areas.

The city says it will "continue to hold TFC accountable to complete the terms of their contract" until it expires on June 30.

In a statement provided to News 3, TFC attributed the service disruptions to the shortage of qualified truck drivers, supply chain issues and the "unintended consequences" of the contract with the city being terminated early.

TFC says while it's doing its best to make sure all residents have curbside recycling service before the contract ends, it cannot guarantee service on a specific day due to the fact that many of the routes have been modified to accommodate an adjusted service schedule.

TFC's statement can be read in full below:

TFC is currently under contract with the City of Chesapeake to collect curbside recycling through June 30, 2022. Chesapeake City Council has voted to cancel TFC Recycling's curbside recycling services to City residents.

Until June 30, 2022, TFC will continue to service Chesapeake residents. The shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers in Hampton Roads - an industry-wide challenge, in addition to supply chain issues and unintended consequences of the early contract cancellation including a reduction in workforce due, in part, to voluntary resignations, have caused service interruptions in Chesapeake. Residents can expect multiple-day delays in recycling collections.

TFC is doing its best to ensure that Chesapeake residents will have curbside recycling service before the end of the contract service date, and that service issues are communicated promptly to all residents. TFC cannot guarantee service on a specific day as many of the routes have been modified to accommodate an adjusted service schedule. As directed by the City of Chesapeake, residents should continue to leave their blue receptacles out on the curb for collection as TFC will continue to serve residents for the life of the contract.

As a privately-owned, and operated recycling company that has served the Hampton Roads community for nearly 50 years, TFC remains committed to providing a high level of service, despite the current workforce and supply chain challenges.  We continue to actively and aggressively recruit drivers into our organization, enhance employee retention activities for our dedicated team members on the front-lines and work through supply chain issues.

To address service issues due to workforce reduction, TFC continues to hire drivers and other open positions.

For information and to apply, visit
Michael Benedetto, President/CEO of TFC Recycling

The city released a statement Tuesday after receiving numerous questions:

The City will not pay for services that are not performed. As previously stated, the City fully expects TFC to abide by the terms of their contract through June 30, 2022, and payments will reflect that expectation.

The City cannot begin picking up the blue "recycling" bins until July 1. Until the end of the contract, TFC has a right and obligation to pick up those materials which presumably have value. Once the contract expires on June 30, the City will then be able to collect those containers, which will be treated as additional trash containers. However, any materials transferred to brown bins by residents prior to July 1st will be collected by the City on regular trash collection day.

In addition, several questions have been raised about whether or not this will impact taxes. The City examines all programs and services to identify savings.

As previously noted, nearly half of the material collected in the blue bins is either burned or disposed of in the landfill. This poor performance is why curbside recycling was one of several programs, services, and/or projects that was cancelled or delayed. City Council was able to identify enough savings to address their priorities and provide tax relief for Fiscal Year 23. This tax relief will effectively reduce the tax rate by 4 cents per $100 of assessed value and will be applied in the form of a credit to Fiscal Year 23 real estate tax bills.

City of Chesapeake

Officials announced in December it had canceled its contract with TFC and assured residents no changes to recycling would happen until its expiration.

City council members voted 7-2 to end the contract. According to city council documents, eliminating curbside recycling would save the city $2 million per year.

In April, we reported that more than than 4,000 Chesapeake residents signed a petition to save the city-managed program.

Residents are growing frustrated.

"It’s been, like, months, and they haven’t picked it up," Chesapeake resident Damien Smith said. "I know they are supposed to stop it at the end of the month, but you would expect that they would come and get it before they expire."

A convenience store manager in Great Bridge says his frustrations are growing.

"It’s been like months, and they haven’t picked it up. I have a grocery store, so every week we have lots of recycling bins. I don’t know what to do," Pete Triveda said.

In the meantime, once TFC's contract is over, a variety of new recycling options will be available to the community starting at the beginning of next month. People can drop off their recyclables at one of seven locations in the city. You can read about those options here.