The big problem has been getting people to do the practical lifting, especially in the recent summer heat.
“About 60% of what we do is manual collection,” Phillips said.
The “assistants” are the employees who accompany the truck drivers and get out of the truck to collect materials. Without sufficient aids, drivers have to stop and exit on their own, slowing the collection process.
The company collects materials from approximately 26,000 homes a day for transport to its Chester plant, which holds more than 20,000 pounds an hour of recyclable materials such as plastic, glass and paper.
The company normally runs 26 routes per day with 26 drivers and 18 assistants, but the company is currently down with four drivers and 10 assistants.
On Monday August 30, the company was only able to operate 16 of its normal routes. Friday morning, TFC was about a day and a half behind in its collections. Recyclable materials are picked up from each residence once every two weeks.
Phillips said the company expects to return to its normal list of drivers next week, but hiring assistants could remain an issue. The company uses several temp agencies to hire assistants, and the job market is tight, he said.
TFC, which has had a contract with CVWMA since 2001. The communities served by the company for CVWMA are Richmond, Ashland, Hopewell, Colonial Heights and the counties of Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover and Henrico.