COCOA, Fla. — "When in doubt, leave it out": That's the message from Waste Management, which is seeing an uptick in contaminated recycling.
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The proof is at the company's Cocoa recycling facility.
"Just this morning, from an extension cord, our entire facility was shut down for 35 minutes," Amy Boyson with Cocoa Waste Management told Spectrum News 13.
That's on top of four scheduled shutdowns a day to remove plastic bags and items not supposed to be there.
Boyson says e-waste, or electronic waste, is the biggest problem right now. E-waste includes things such as computers, laptops, and televisions.
Also, there are an estimated 4,000 propane tanks and trash cans on the back of the property.
"If a propane tank is baled, it could blow up and potentially cause a fire," Boyson said.
Well-intentioned recyclers can also be to blame. Only plastic bottles, jugs, tubs, aluminum, tin cans, paper, and cardboard are recyclable; everything else will be sent to a landfill.
"Collection does not equal recycling," Boyson emphasized.
So when in doubt, leave it out.
Phil Ferdinando of West Melbourne can talk trash as a self-professed recycling fiend. He is upset with those who don't recycle or put the wrong things in recycle bins.
"It's not like there's a police force going around making sure you recycle," Ferdinando said, laughing. "There are so many of us who want to do the right thing."
Waste Management spent $77,000 last month on landfill disposal fees, delivering recycling mixed in with garbage.