Some neighbors in Cape Coral have not received yard waste for almost a month


Messages are piling up outside some homes in Southwest Florida. Some Cape Coral residents say they haven’t cleaned up their yard in nearly four weeks.

WINK News found out why they were seeing those delays.

Waste Pro told WINK News they are experiencing significant disruption in their service because employees are out of work. And, the company said, COVID-19 is the cause of employees not coming to work.

Jim Lucarelli of Cape Coral has something to say about that. “They say, ‘they’re short-handed and have a lot to pick up’. I said, “we have stuff that’s been here three weeks, four weeks … and it’s still on the field,” said Lucarelli.

Neighbors say they are fed up that yard waste collection is a service they still have to pay for without benefiting from it. “I’m not ready to tear anyone apart, just let me know and I’ll work with you. Like I said, I wouldn’t have put it out this week if I knew you weren’t coming in two weeks. I’ll keep it behind the fence,” said Dave Ambrozewicz.

Residents say the piles are becoming unsightly and killing the grass underneath them. Waste Pro says it is committed to finding solutions to minimize these disruptions. Bett Lucarelli said, “It could be every other week, just let us know, you know, we don’t leave our stuff there.”

Lee County is also asking its customers to endure similar yard waste collection delays starting Monday. But the county says garbage collection will not be affected.

“Cape Coral wants to keep their home looking beautiful. This is not it,” said Vicki Ambrozewicz.

Waste Pro said it is monitoring the situation daily and is in constant communication with the City of Cape Coral and Lee County. They are still working to find a solution.

Waste Pro sent a statement to WINK News, and you can read the full statement below:

“Millions of workers across the US in all industries are taking sick leave because of the omicron variation. Our solid waste officers are working hard to carry out the collection but are not immune to the virus. These dramatic increases in downtime significantly disrupt our service schedules. Waste Pro is committed to proactively finding ways to minimize service disruptions. Our local management is monitoring this situation daily and is in regular contact with Lee County and Cape Coral. We appreciate your patience. The safety and service of the community is our number one priority. ”

Lee County also sent a statement to WINK News regarding the possible delays:

“Lee County Solid Waste is asking customers to be aware that they may experience delays in receiving some yard waste starting Monday as county contract managers are reporting Severe staff shortage due to COVID-19. Solid Waste customers should continue to drop off their trash, recyclables, and yard waste on their regular scheduled days. To help mitigate managers’ current staffing challenges, Lee County has asked administrators to prioritize placing the majority of existing staff to collect waste from both residential and downtown. The next priority will be recycling, then garden waste. Those routes will be noted and the passenger carriers will collect at a later date. If your trash is not being collected, visit to find your collection area and your carrier’s contact number; Customers can also complete a Request for Action form to notify Solid Waste. (Example: Garbage is generally considered trash from the home kitchen.) You may also experience delayed recycling service, depending on the volume of curbside litter and available staff. If recycling is not being collected on your regularly scheduled day, contact Solid Waste. Solid waste and managers are asking residents to be mindful of the amount of yard waste they put on the curb and reduce, if possible. Solid waste will have inspectors on site to monitor the situation. Regular collection will resume as soon as the collection crew is able to return to work. The client is a Lee County Solid Waste residential area that resides in unincorporated Lee County as well as the City of Bonita Springs, Estero Village, the City of Sanibel, and Fort Myers Beach Town. Please note: There will be no change to the collection schedule on Martin Luther King Jr Day. coming, that is, Monday, January 17”.

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Aila Slisco

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