Nearly 40 percent of the stuff single-family homeowners dump into their recycling bins in much of the city is non-recyclable food waste and other junk, according to California Waste Solutions, the city's primary hauler. That's more than six times Oakland's 6-percent contamination rate, the company said.
And residents who don't get the recycling right may soon face more than just an angry red notice on an unemptied recycling bin. City leaders are now talking about stepping up enforcement with possible fines for repeat offenders.
The recycling mess comes as city leaders fret over worrisome trends in San Jose's Recycle Plus curbside collection program highlighted in a recent city audit that has led to finger-pointing between the department overseeing collection and the company contracted for pickup in most parts of the city.