FOLEY – Foley residents who take part in the city’s curbside recycling program could be getting reminders of what materials are acceptable if they put out items that do not fit the guidelines.

Residents are putting more non recyclable material in the bins specified for recyclable items, Darrell Russell, Foley Public Works director, said. He said that increase could drive up the cost of disposing of the material for the city and residents.

“It’s getting to be more of a problem,” Russell said. “It’s not any one area of the city, any demographic. It’s all over and we could end up paying more because of it.”

Non-recyclable materials found in city bins have included everything from containers being filled with leaves and other yard wastes to, in at least one case, a dead animal.

If the level of contamination – non recyclable material – in a truckload is more than 25%, the processing plant will increase the charges to the city.

The Foley Sanitation Department collects recyclable material once a week from homes. Crews will be leaving notices at homes if residents put non recyclable items in bins.

The notices include a checklist that can show why the material left out could not be accepted.

The city accepts aluminum and steel cans, plastic containers or packing, paper and cardboard and cartons for curbside recycling. All plastic and metal containers should be emptied and rinsed before being placed in the bins.

Unacceptable items include food waste, foam containers or packing, glass, yard wastes and  plastic bags.

Any food or liquid in a container, such as grease or tomato paste in a pizza box, is considered a contaminant that will make the item unacceptable. 

Grocery bags can clog the machinery used to process plastic material. Bags should be taken to local stores that accept those items for separate processing.

Anyone who is not certain if an item is recyclable should dispose of it in the trash. “When in doubt, throw it out,” is the recommendation for any questionable material.

Foley operates two recycling trucks that collect materials from Monday through Friday. The items are taken to the Emerald Coast Utility Authority in Florida.

Contaminated loads must sometimes be taken to the Baldwin County Landfill in Magnolia Springs.