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Trash is Piling Up. Sanitation Workers Are Feeling the Strain.

Housebound urban residents are making more garbage, and budget-strapped cities are having trouble keeping up. 

The coronavirus pandemic has helped drive a surge in municipal trash. Many sanitation workers have had enough. 

Photographer: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images 

Delwyn Giles knows how much “the new normal” weighs: about three tons, on average.

That’s how much more residential garbage he’s picking up every day as a disposal worker with Chicagoland-based Homewood Disposal. Before the coronavirus pandemic, his truck would typically haul about 28 tons of trash each day. Now, as housebound residents churn through takeout and Amazon boxes, it’s more like 31 tons.