75 tons of recyclable materials heading to Santa Rosa landfill each week

RecyclingMonster - There is a recycling problem in Santa Rosa County.

Since April, residents' recyclable material left on the curbside for pick up, has been going straight to the landfill.

Mary Ann Chandler is a Santa Rosa County resident.

"The all green ones are just your regular trash," said Chandler. "And the grey covered ones are your recyclables."

Chandler handles her own recyclables, but was surprised to learn her neighbors' recycling waste, along with 75 tons of recyclable material per week, is going to the landfill.

"If I found out that I'm paying somebody to pick it up and they're not doing what they're supposed to, I'd probably be really upset about that," said Chandler.

Chandler pays about $58 every three months for trash services provided by the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA).

ECUA took over trash, recyclable and yard debris removal services for the north end of the county in 2016.

"Currently the recycling goods are going to the top of the hill in the class one landfill," said Roger Blaylock, an engineer for the county.

Blaylock says in April, ECUA notified the county they would be discontinuing their current contract.

"They sited our high contamination rates of our recyclables -- ours are a curbside recycling program, so we don't really control what goes in those cans," said Blaylock. "And also, low market values."

ECUA spokesperson, Nathalie Bowers told Channel 3 News a contract is in the works.

"ECUA is ready to accept recyclables from Santa Rosa County at our facility located in Escambia near the Perdido landfill," said Bowers. "So, Santa Rosa County would need to provide a hauler that would bring it to our facility for processing."

Blaylock said they are already in the process of finding a new company to provide hauling and transportation services.

"We had to go contract with a third-party vendor," said Blaylock. "So, we'll have to get their contract in place."

Blaylock added July 11 is the earliest they would get a new contract agreed upon.

Until then, residents like Chandler are left wondering why they are paying for services they are not being provided with.

"If they're not recycling it, they give us the bin to recycle it and they're not recycling it, then don't charge us until you have the contract and you do what you're supposed to be doing," said Chandler.

Despite not currently offering recycling services, Santa Rosa County residents are still urged to follow recycling guidelines to stay in the habit for when services are back up and running.