Trash disposal company wants Loudoun County to suspend yard waste pickup during COVID-19 pandemic

Right now, Loudoun County landscapes are looking good, but some residents have noticed a lot of yard waste left behind.

“I was a little upset just with it being Easter, you know? We have our tulips all blooming, and I wanted everything to look nice,” said Ellen Berg, who lives in Ashburn.

“I work for six people in this cul-de-sac and every one of them I’m gonna have to haul away their grass clippings,” added Ron Lopez, who owns All-In-One Tree & Landscaping.

The reason for the leftover bags of trimmings – is COVID-19.

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John Poague owns Patriot Disposal, which picks up both trash and yard waste in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William counties. He wants his employees to stop taking yard waste for the time being to limit their potential exposure. After all, he said, his workers grab hundreds of bags filled with yard waste every day. But while Poague said Fairfax and Prince William Counties were fine with his request, Loudoun was not.

“I want the guys to stay healthy and not take the coronavirus home to their family and for protection of themselves,” Poague said Wednesday. “They honestly feel because they’re trash men, they’re not valued as human beings.”

A Loudoun County spokesperson said they are encouraging residents to limit their yard waste, but he added that county ordinance doesn’t allow officials to suspend yard waste pick-up without the Board of Supervisors taking action, and so far, the board has decided against it.

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It doesn’t sit well with Poague.

“Yard waste you can compost. Yard waste you can hold onto. If all the guys end up getting sick then you’re trash isn’t gonna get picked up, and that’s when there’s really gonna be a major issue,” Poague said.

For now, Patriot Disposal has agreed to pick up yard waste once a week in Loudoun County, although Poague said that’s still more often than he’d like.