Video Shows Waste Management Truck Mixing Trash and Recycles

Waste Management says it is going to reeducate their employees on how to handle split-use containers.

“I wash out my recyclables. I try not to buy one-time plastics and I definitely don’t eat at restaurants that use one-time-use plastics and no water bottles for me,” Jason Havel said. 

Recycling is important to Havel. When it’s time to dump his recycling, he uses the split dumpster in his Mira Mesa condo complex. 

“We have a bin over there that’s separated into two compartments," he said. "One compartment is for trash and the other compartment is for recycling."

Each compartment has a lid and Havel said those compartment lids are important, especially when the trash trucks arrive. He explained the trash truck drivers are responsible for locking the lids on either side to ensure only trash or recycles are dumped at one time. 

Based on what he’s witnessed, that’s not happening and a few months ago he grabbed his cell phone to prove it. 

“Look it, all of the recycling we do just goes into the trash, it’s unacceptable,” Havel narrated while recording a truck dumping recycles in with the trash. 

Havel said of the 12 times he recorded a Waste Management truck emptying the dumpster, the driver didn’t lock down the lids 10 of those times, meaning both sides were going into the same truck. The two times he watched the drivers do it right, one of those times was after the driver saw him recording.

“One day I ran out and asked them how come you’re dumping my recyclables into the trash and they responded, 'We’re late, we got to go,'” Havel said. 

When things didn’t change, Havel reached out to NBC 7 Responds for help. 

“Where’s our recycling really ending up," he asked. "Is it truly being recycled or is it filling a landfill?" 

NBC 7 Responds reached out to Waste Management and sent a company representative Havel’s cell phone videos. After reviewing the videos, a company representative said the company found them to be “troubling” and that the company intended to re-educate their team on how to handle these split-containers. 

“If I’m doing my part and they’re not doing their part, we’re not completing the circle,” Havel said. 

Eloisa Orozco, Southern CA Communications Manager for Waste Management, told NBC 7 Responds, “We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention. In looking at the footage, clearly, the right process was not followed and those materials should not have been handled that way. We're looking into how and why this happened and taking the immediate action of re-educating our team on how to handle these split containers. Waste Management is committed to recycling and what we saw in the video was not at all what we wanted to see, nor does it reflect our standard recycling practices.”

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