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St. Louis to resume alley recycling collection May 31

A blue recycling bin sits in an alleyway in south St. Louis
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Recycling bins on Wednesday in a south St. Louis alleyway. St. Louis announced alley recycling pickup will resume May 31.

After nearly a year, alley pickup of recycling in the city of St. Louis is set to resume May 31.

“We worked hard to get to this point, and we ask for your patience as we work through any bumps in the road that will come along the way,” Nancy Cross, the city’s operations director, said in a statement released Wednesday announcing the date.

The city stopped picking up trash and recycling separately in July 2021 because there weren't enough drivers. Collection of the blue bins was expected to resume last December, but while a $3,000 hiring bonus helped attract more drivers, the city was still short on people to repair the trucks.

Officials turned their attention to hiring mechanics and reviewed data to determine the most efficient way to collect refuse. The city is now divided into “high-yield” and “low-yield” routes. All will receive at least once-a-week pickup; some of the high-yield routes may get a second pickup. The streets department will adjust as needed.

Recyclable items must be empty, clean and dry. Lids and caps can be recycled but must be on the bottle, and the waste cannot be wrapped in anything. Plastic grocery bags are not recyclable.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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