The city of San Antonio, Texas is hoping its residents will realize that dirty diapers belong in the trash.
Officials say about 103 pounds of soiled diapers are found in the city’s recycling centers every hour, Texas Public Radio reported. The city has been hit with the “Diaper Tip Fee” from recycling processors — the cost of cleaning it up — which totaled more than $1 million last year, FOX 29 reported. The city has had to pay roughly that amount every year, TPR reported.
If the city can lower that amount to under 50 pounds of diapers per hour, the processor will no longer charge the fee, the radio station said.
In order to make it happen, the city’s Solid Waste Management Department is proposing an increase in the fine assessed to people who toss dirty diapers in their recycling bin, ABC 12 reported. The penalty is currently $25, but officials want to double it, the news station said.
“It is about behavior changes,” David McCary, Director of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management Department, told FOX 29. “In some cases, they’re using it (the blue bin) as a second trash cart. Their contaminants are bags of trash and food. We can’t send that to open markets.”
The dirty diapers contaminate the other items that do belong in the recycling bins — aluminum, plastic and paper materials, the news station said.
The fee proposed by the city would show up on the homeowner’s energy bill, where waste management costs are normally assessed, TPR reported.
The proposal was approved Tuesday the city council’s health committee. A date for full council consideration hasn’t been set, TPR said.