Worker & parts shortages cause GFL to stop garbage service in parts of Livingston County

Posted at 1:36 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-11 03:07:11-04

(WXYZ) — Today is the last day GFL Environmental Service will pick up garbage in parts of Livingston County, while residents have no choice but to switch services. Some residents say if they had a choice they'd stick with the service.


"They've been great. They've always picked up everything I've asked them to," said Sandy Johnson, a Putnam Township resident.

Sandy sang the praises of GFL Environmental.

"Couple times if they don't pick up, I would call and they would make sure it gets picked up. Big items, little items, they were great," she said.

Pat Carney, Putnam Township treasurer, says, "we didn't really have any problems until sometime in June, and they just quit picking up."

This summer, residents like Pat say they were left with a mess on their hands and had to switch garbage services abruptly.

"On top of not being picked up for three weeks, I got a bill for July, August and September, which I obviously didn't pay," said Pat.

The growing heaps of trash and recycling, a potential nuisance and rodent haven, needed a place to go. So Putnam Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan says the township paid $540 for a different company to place a large roll-out dumpster to sit in the township hall parking lot.

It was not in the budget, so he asked GFL to provide one.

"So it’s at least four townships in Livingston County that they discontinued service to. In our township, I would say more than 50 percent of the people were using GFL when they quit," said Brennan.

Dexter Township residents are also switching to other services.

"There were many areas in our township that their garbage was two and three weeks old," said Dexter Township Clerk Michelle Stamboulellis.

The cause? A GFL spokesman tells 7 Action News there's a worker shortage, like other industries.

The company said even with enough workers, garbage truck parts are at a deficit.

GFL spokesman Joe Munem confirms the following is a previously released statement about the situation:

“...unfortunately, external factors caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, such as a national labor shortage and a lack of truck parts availability, have impacted our ability to maintain the high level of service our customers have come to expect from us, and we expect from ourselves.”

“As such, GFL must eliminate some of our residential customers with subscription service to maintain a consistent service level for communities with which we are contractually obligated."

Sandy Johnson says she's sad to see GFL go, but she understands their dilemma.

"They're not the only business that is having that problem. I get it. When we go to a restaurant, I thank the server just for doing what he's doing. And I would thank the guys. They took the TV off my front porch. I couldn't lift it. It's just a different world that we have right now and we need to be more patient," she said.