San Antonio faces a daunting task in reaching its goal of achieving a 60 percent residential recycling rate by 2025. With just 10 years to go, only about 30 percent of the city’s population recycles.
But the city’s solid waste department is ready for the challenge, noting that the Alamo City went from 3 percent to 30 percent in the last decade alone. Determined to meet the goal, department officials regularly send out 19 inspectors throughout the city to help residents meet the requirements for what does and doesn’t belong in the blue recycling carts. Each inspector is assigned one route for six to eight weeks, covering 32,000 residents, for a total reach of more than half a million San Antonians every two months.
On a recent tour of West Side neighborhoods, route inspector Asia Jones-Carr ran across a cart with a garbage bag pushing the lid open. There were several violations: items thrown in the carts should be loose, not bagged; plastic bags are allowed only if they are bound tightly together into another bag to form a package the size of a soccer ball; and carts shouldn’t be packed so full that the lid can’t close. She slapped a yellow sticker on the cart with photos of what’s acceptable.