CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City of Corpus Christi is laying down the law for its recycling program.
Tuesday they passed a first reading ordinance which could take away recycling privileges from residents who don't follow the recycling rules.
A recent audit found that roughly 40% of what's collected from blue recycling carts isn't what the city considers recyclable. That includes things like plastic toys, clothes, glass, and styrofoam. The city estimates most recycling carts actually have 50%-75% trash inside.
“I want us to recycle, I wish our recycling center was better,” said Corpus Christi resident Kristy Ramirez. “I used to live in Connecticut, you could recycle glass, you could recycle wine bottles, you could recycle all different kinds of plastics.“
Ramirez recycles and says she is careful about what she puts in the blue bin. The city wishes more residents were like her,. that's why the city is launching its Recycle Clean program.
Under the program the first two times a recycling cart is found with garbage, residents will be notified. After they remove the contamination, they can either have the recycling collected two weeks later, or sooner for a $25 fee. A third time brings a mandatory $25 special collection fine. A fourth violation would result in removal of the bin for at least six months.
“it's something they can try, I don't know how effective it's going to be,” said Ramirez.
“I do think it's a great idea to get that going and enforcing it because if we don't do something about it now, it'll never get done,” said Corpus Christi resident Ciara Luna.
Luna says she convinced her parents to start recycling. She's worried though, that fines could mean more people skip recycling and throw everything in the trash.
“A lot of people tend to be lazy about it and they don't care,” Luna said.
The city estimates the cost of separating the trash out of recycling is about $500,000 a year. Officials hope the Recycle Clean program can reduce those costs.
After passing Tuesday's first reading. the ordinance has to pass a second before it takes effect.
The city has several resources available on its website to help residents learn what goes in the recycling bin and what goes in the trash.