58ºF

Hundreds of SA residents warned, dozens fined for improper recycling

Solid Waste Management cracks down to encourage awareness of sorting garbage

SAN ANTONIO – Solid Waste Management has handed out 2,400 warnings and about 84 fines to San Antonio residents for recycling violations.

The notification program began in July in an effort to encourage residents to be more aware of how to sort garbage, Solid Waste Management Department public relations manager Tiffany Edmonds said.

Residents have been recycling for years, but a few are place the wrong items in the blue bins, Edmonds said. Plastic bottles, cans, glass jars, paper, cardboard and drink cartons are recyclable. Dirty diapers and garden hoses are not.

"Unfortunately, we have got to get those items out of the blue cart, because not only are they a health hazard for the individuals that are work at the recycling plant, but then they mess up all the good recycling that people do," Edmonds said.

When a resident places the wrong item in a blue bin, they're issued a beige warning tag on the handle of the bin. Residents will get a follow-up notice in the mail reminding them of what's recyclable and what's not. If the violations continue, residents will get a white tag on the bin notifying them of a $25 fine, which will show up on their CPS Energy bill.

To avoid mixups or warnings being issued to the wrong residents, the process is well documented.

"We're taking pictures of the cart, the serial number on the cart, because we have the serial numbers based on the addresses," Edmonds said. "And then we also take a picture of the home, and we take a picture of the items we found in it."

The fine doesn't make the city any money, Edmonds said. The money covers the cost to dispatch a special truck to the home and take the trash to the landfill to be processed as garbage instead of being taken to the plant for recycling.

"We're not trying to make money off the fines; we really are trying to make sure that we are educating residents -- that's the key," Edmonds said. "We know that we can only reach our 60 percent residential-recycling goal if we have our residents involved."

For more information on recycling, click here.