Can't you sort your recyclable trash in Corpus Christi?  You can be punished

Corpus Christi recycling contamination rate is around 40 percent, which is twice the industry standard.

This contamination occurs when people throw glass, plastic bags, or other items that the city doesn’t recycle in their trash.

This summer, the city plans to launch a new solid waste program called the Recycle Contamination Lessinging Education and Enforcement (CLEAN) program.

“A lot of (recycling) material that we collect, when it is contaminated with garbage, it has to be taken to the landfill,” said city administrator Peter Zanoni. “They don’t sort it and pick out the garbage.”

According to a city press release, the city spends nearly $ 500,000 each year cleaning up contaminated materials in its recycling inventory.

The Corpus Christi Solid Waste garbage truck will pick up a trash can on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Here is the plan

Zanoni plans to hire five quality control officers for the solid waste department in June or July.

They would inspect the trash bins before they are about to be emptied by a recycling truck. If there are unwanted items in a shopping cart, it will be marked. A separate garbage truck would take all of its contents to a landfill.

In the first offense, the city issued a warning and contacted residents to let them know what can be recycled. If non-recyclable items are found, a fine may be imposed on the second notification, as the case may be.

The third violation would most likely result in a fine.

Corpus Christi Solid Waste Recycling Truck will discard a load of recycling at Republic Services recycling center on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

“Some people who are known to be complacent and don’t care. We are not going to give that type of person too many opportunities,” Zanoni said.

A fine could range from $ 25 to $ 50. City officials plan to submit a fine and the program to the city council for review in late May or early June. The fines would be used to pay for additional garbage truck trips to take contaminated material to the landfill.

If someone habitually breaks guidelines, their trash can be removed, Zanoni said.

“We don’t really want to reach this level because we want to encourage all of our residents to recycle,” said Zanoni.

The city is expanding its recycling education through public announcements, social media advertising, lectures, radio interviews, and more.

A rep at the Republic Services recycling center will sort recyclable materials on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

“You have to realize that we haven’t done the best job educating the community about what is recyclable or not,” said Zanoni.

Similar programs have proven successful in lowering contamination rates for cities like San Antonio and McAllen, according to the press release.

The following cannot and cannot be recycled

You can recycle many everyday items. All recyclable items are placed in the same blue shopping cart without being sorted.

What you can recycle


  • Junk mail, catalogs and envelopes
  • Shredded personal documents
  • Boxes such as cereal boxes, pasta boxes, frozen food boxes, and beverage cartons
  • Shoebox
  • Cardboard box (flattened)
  • Newspaper and magazines
  • Telephone books
  • Copy and computer paper – white and colors
  • Protective paper for wrapping shoes, purses, etc.


  • Water / soda bottles (with the lid removed)
  • Detergent, soap and shampoo bottles (without lids)
  • Milk jug
  • Butter, sour cream and yogurt cups
  • Syrup, peanut butter, and squeezable jelly bottles


  • Clean aluminum, tin and steel
  • Tin cans for things like vegetables and soup
  • Metal cans – sodas, energy drinks
  • Other beverage cans
  • Empty aerosol spray cans
  • plastic bags

Corpus Christi Solid Waste Recycling Truck will discard a load of recycling at Republic Services recycling center on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

What you can’t recycle

  • Plastic wrap
  • Glass (Residents can bring their glass to the JC Elliott Collection Center.)
  • Hazardous household waste
  • Food waste or liquids
  • Containers with leftover food (such as pizza boxes)
  • Wet paper products
  • Garden waste (grass waste, branches)
  • Styrofoam
  • Wax paper or wax paper
  • Engine oil containers or hazardous household waste
  • Garden hoses and power cables
  • ammunition
  • fencing

Kathryn Cargo follows store openings and developments and reports on the effects of the decisions made by the city government.For our subscription options and specials, please visit

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