Bexar County – Three weeks of trash is piled above the brim of Samantha Black’s trash bin in the Cinco Lakes neighborhood in far west Bexar County.
With three children in diapers and triple-digit heat beating down on it, the pile of trash is far from an air freshener as it sits on the curb, next to their recycling, waiting to be picked up.
At first, Black says her family missed an email from their trash and recycling hauler, Warrior Disposal, about pickup coming a day late, and they brought their still-full bins back inside after the normal pickup day. But later, they just left the bins out.
As of Friday, they’d been on the curb for two weeks.
“This is not how this is supposed to be,” Black said.
A flood of Warrior Disposal customers from neighborhoods on the far west side of Bexar County called or emailed KSAT with complaints about the company. Its owner blamed delays in service on staffing shortages, saying that, out of seven trucks, he only had one in the field on Friday.
When they signed up with Warrior Disposal, which began in 2019 and advertises as “veteran-owned,” customers say the company promised twice-a-week pickup. That has since changed to once a week — at least in theory.
In the Westview subdivision, Lynn Macias said the change happened in February for her, but it would be about every eight days. This week, she said it was nine days.
In Redbird Ranch, Talia Lopez said she doesn’t recall getting a pickup since early July after she paid for another quarter of service. She estimates that her bins have sat on the curb for about a week-and-a-half.
“In the beginning, I was picking — I was bringing them back up the next day because you don’t want to just leave a trash can sitting on the curb forever. And then I finally gave up, and I just leave them down here for them to hopefully get picked up at some point,” Lopez said.
Some customers told KSAT they never got an official notice about pickup service changing to just once a week. However, Joseph Gonzalez, who owns the company with his Navy veteran wife, says the company has notified everyone.
“Now, if they don’t update their email, that’s not our fault. We don’t know that,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the company had to downgrade to weekly pickups because of increasing costs, like fuel and landfill fees.
He also said the lengthy pickup delays “just happened last week. That just happened last week because two weeks ago was just myself and an employee. We had — people are quitting. They’re quitting. They’re trying to go to collect unemployment. They’re going somewhere else.”
Gonzalez said shorter delays were also due to staffing problems. He said it takes two to man each truck, a driver and a runner. Whereas he once had 16 employees in the field, Gonzalez said he now has only three.
Meanwhile, he says Warrior Disposal has almost 5,000 customers right now.
“We’re trying to get back on schedule the best we can,” he said. “But we do need help.”
But it’s already too late for a customer like Black, who is “100%” switching to a different company.
ALSO ON KSAT.COM