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Employee shortages cause trash troubles at Lehi schools

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Sarah Chamberlain | Lehi Free Press

As the new school year begins, a common sight for Alpine School District students and teachers at several Lehi schools has been mountains of black plastic garbage bags spilling out of school dumpsters, which are usually kept neat and emptied frequently. However, in recent weeks, school officials have seen these formerly well-maintained bins overflowing with trash.

Staff from a range of schools have reported stinking piles of waste that have become increasingly inconvenient and odorous as they grow.

Alpine School District (ASD) has a garbage collection contract with Arizona-based Republic Services, a billion-dollar publicly held company.

ASD administrators have been barraged with a flurry of complaints from school officials, parents and students about the ever-growing piles of trash. ASD maintenance officials reported that complaints have been referred to Republic Services. 

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Clark Estaban, Head Maintenance Coordinator for Alpine School District, expressed frustration with Republic Services as the issue has been ongoing. “I have contacted Republic Services on missed pickups more than I can count.”

Estaban said Republic Services informed him they were experiencing “staffing issues,” something Republic Servicesechoed in a statement, “Republic Services of Utah is currently experiencing some service delays. Many industries are facing staffing challenges at this time, and the environmental services industry is no different.” 

The company also added, “We are always recruiting and hiring great people to join our team, and offer a competitive salary, generous benefits, paid vacation, safety bonuses, and numerous career advancement opportunities.”

Many companies have been facing record employee shortages. Over the last several months, inadequate labor supply and lack of adequately trained staff have been issues plaguing businesses of all sizes all around the country, and companies operating in Utah are no exception. 

However, frustrations are growing for school officials, students, and teachers, as dumpsters on Lehi’s school grounds continue to overflow.

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