Weekly Update: Solid waste service, testing, and the Mayor's Meal Challenge

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Like many organizations, we have been deliberate in our attempts to proactively manage and support our employees throughout this pandemic. We’re offering free onsite COVID-19 testing, paid sick leave, flexible work arrangements, onsite virtual learning for students of city employees, personal protective equipment, internal contact tracing services, and COVID-19 care kits. We’re also advocating for early vaccination for city employees within departments that, due to the nature of their job, interact with each other and the public on a regular basis. Click here for a full listing of our COVID-19 policy and benefits.

Despite all those efforts, our division of Solid Waste Management has been affected by this virus. Approximately 25 percent of our solid waste crews have either contracted the COVID-19 virus or are in quarantine.

Because of this, you’ve all seen by now that we’ve had to make some temporary adjustments to our solid waste services. This past Monday, solid waste crews began collecting garbage and recycling as one combined collection removal to mitigate collections delays.

Unfortunately, we were faced with the difficult decision to either operate as we have been and keep having significant service delays across the city or speed up the process by collecting your garbage and recycling as one combined collection. Although not ideal—we chose the latter as the solution to this temporary problem.

Please continue to bring your garbage and recycling carts curbside by 7 a.m. on your regularly scheduled day. If you choose to combine your garbage and recycling on your own, please combine your recycling into your garbage cart and not your recycling bin. If you place garbage in your recycling bin it can contaminate it and cause issues once recycling returns.

Crews will continue to work extra shifts to service your areas to the best of their ability.

If you want to continue recycling and drop it off on your own, you can do so at three Recycling Drop Off Convenience Centers that will remain open seven days a week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Those locations are:

DOWNTOWN – Mud Island Dr. (north entrance of Mud Island Park)

SOUTHEAST – Hickory Hill Center (3910 Ridgeway)

EAST MEMPHIS – Approximately 300 yards off Germantown Parkway S., just south of the Shelby Showplace Arena at AgriCenter International

I’m sorry for this inconvenience, and I ask that you please be patient with us. Know that we have a plan and are working hard to give you the best level of service we can during these unprecedented times.

We need you: This past Tuesday at the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force briefing we put out an all call for trained medical and non-medical professionals. As hospitalizations continue to rise, it’s going to require an all-hands-on-deck approach. If you or someone you know may be interested, please see below for more information.

we need you

Free testing this weekend: If you’re concerned about your status, there’s no reason not to find out if you have COVID-19.

Testing is free.

The only cost to you is your time. For more details about this weekend’s event, see below.


Mayor’s Meal Challenge: This past Spring, I issued the Mayor’s Meal Challenge, and the response was amazing. As part of the initial challenge, I committed to donate $2,500 to the Mid-South Food Bank and asked those of you that could to lend your support to them as well.

Not only did hundreds of you participate in the challenge by getting take-out from your favorite restaurants, but we were able to raise nearly $33,000 for the Mid-South Food Bank. With those funds, they provided over 97,000 meals to members of our community that were struggling with food insecurity.

As we move into the holidays and we’re still dealing with the devastating effects of this virus, I’m asking for your help again. Starting this weekend, I will donate $25 to the Mid-South Food Bank for each photo of a meal purchased from a local restaurant up to $2,500 from my campaign.

To participate in the Mayor’s Meal Challenge:

  • Order from a local restaurant
  • Post photos of the food on social media
  • Tag the City of Memphis Facebook page @City of Memphis or Twitter @CityofMemphis and the restaurant’s page
  • Include Hashtag #MayorsMealChallenge

This holiday season, I encourage you all to continue to shop local and support small businesses, while practicing social distancing. If you would like to donate to the food bank, go here.

Have a great weekend!


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