Driver shortage in Silverdale means yard waste is piling up

SILVERDALE – Grass and cut hedges, tree branches and other yard waste pile up in Mark Korsnes’ house.

The Silverdale resident, along with hundreds of Kitsap County customers, have now been without such a Waste Management service for a month. The company, which is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of drivers in Kitsap County, was unable to haul yard waste, leading to a build-up of organic waste in the hottest part of the year. year.

At this point, it’s a considerable delay, Korsnes said.

“How are they going to take all that extra garbage in the middle of the summer?” he wondered.

The company told Kitsap Sun on Thursday that customers who missed every two-week yard waste collection can put extra amounts in paper bags and they’ll also be credited for one month of missed service.

“We recognize this is a major inconvenience for some customers, and we appreciate their patience as we work to restore regular service,” said company spokesperson Jackie Lang.

But for some, like Korsnes, it will be fine next week before yard waste pickup resumes. Many customers who have had to do without pickup live in central and northern Kitsap. The company provides services in the unincorporated county as well as in the towns of Port Orchard and Bremerton.

Kitsap County Commissioner Ed Wolfe on Wednesday sent a complaint to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which regulates waste management. The commission confirmed to Kitsap Sun that it was investigating the failed service.

“This is a major drawback for the paying customers of Waste Management, some of whom have not received this service in the past two months,” Wolfe wrote. “I would ask that these customers be reimbursed for the cost of their uncollected waste.”

Waste Management, which is short of drivers not only in Kitsap but elsewhere in the country, “is activating an aggressive driver recruitment and hiring campaign” that includes signing bonuses of $ 2,000.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” said Robert Hall, District Manager of Waste Management in Bremerton. “The driver shortage is a challenge for industries across North America. It is intensifying as our economy grows and changes, with increasing demand for online shopping and home delivery. “

The company will host a recruiting event from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on August 12 at its Bremerton District headquarters, 9300 SW Barney White Road. An appointment is not necessary to attend. Open positions include drivers, technicians, cart washers and more.

Customers who missed pickups can contact the State Utilities and Transportation Commission Consumer Hotline at https://www.utc.wa.gov/consumers/consumer-complaints / file-complaint

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