TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Waste managers in Texarkana, Texas say they are seeing high levels of contaminated materials in residents’ recycling bins.

Waste Management Public Sector Solutions Manager Doug Sims says the current contamination rate is 15 to 16%.

“Our goal is to have no more than 10%,” said Sims. “We’d like to get that 10% at the curb, but to try to get that number down a little bit, what we do here at the Texarkana (is), we have the advantage of having the transfer station here so we can kind of cull through some of this material.”

Sims says a lack of education is what has led to so much contamination.

Things like liquids, foam cups, and batteries cannot be recycled. But Sims says the biggest problem lately in Texarkana is plastic bags, which are not allowed in recycling bins.

“Plastic film has a natural static electricity, so in the back of the truck, it collects every little bit of dirt and lint,” said Greta Calvery, Public Affairs Manager. “So, by the time it gets to us that when we did try to recycle it, it was too dirty, and it would always get rejected.”

Waste Management District Manager Jarrod Miller highlights the difference between recyclable and reusable.

“Items like clothing that can be taken to your Goodwill, Salvation Army, homeless shelters, to be reused,” said Miller. “Another item that we have put in there some is yard waste. Well, yard waste is compost. It can go to TWU. it’s not recyclable.”

Miller says they pick up about two tons a day on average of potentially recyclable material.

The recycling containers have decals showing what can go inside the container. Waste Management accepts things like plastic bottles, paper, beverage cans, and flattened cardboard.

For more information on recycling, visit the Waste Management website.