The first year of the pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for the waste and recycling industry — first the fear of how the coronavirus spread in the collection environment, and then dealing with high rates of absenteeism as workers fell sick or quarantined (Waste Dive ended its coronavirus disruptions tracker in March after a year of updates, but that captured many of those examples.)
The second year of the pandemic brought vaccines. Industry groups and employers encouraged workers to get vaccinated, and some municipal employers required it, but the overall vaccination rate among industry workers is not clear. More workers may be required by federal mandate to get vaccinated (or regularly tested) in 2022, but the legal fate of that Biden administration mandate is pending. Through it all, the industry also had to adapt with wage increases, bonuses and other benefits to compete for workers in a U.S. economy experiencing high turnover.