St. Cloud homeowners face potential fine for recycling wrong items

Recycling seems to have created quite a stink in the city of St. Cloud. 

"The citizens of St. Cloud and the city of St. Cloud are not on the same page," Bradley Watson explained. 

Watson and countless other homeowners in the city have recently complained about getting citations for having prohibited items in their recycling bins. Watson continued, "He goes well you have a lot of items in here that aren’t allowed, and I said, what are you talking about? And he goes things like this… things like this…"

According to St. Cloud’s website, there is a list of things you can and cannot recycle. Simplified into one picture, the post reads, "Keep Recycling Simple! Recycle ONLY these items: paper, flattened cardboard, metal cans, and plastic bottles & jugs."

Fortunately, Watson says he was home when his citation was being written, so he says the city employee threw it out. But plenty of other people took to social media complaining about the penalties. One person wrote, "My whole neighborhood got fines!" Another added,"…mine was $20 others got $40!"

When we reached out to the city, no one was available to speak with us on camera, but a spokesperson confirmed crews have been tagging recycling bins containing non-recyclable items. Another spokesperson for the city confirmed they are in the process of putting messaging on all recycle bins that reflect what can and cannot be recycled and expect this to be completed by October.

One neighbor on Watson’s street says she has never had an issue with recycling in St. Cloud. Ligia Russo said, "Are you surprised to hear that some people have gotten fined?" "I’m surprised because I know what I’m supposed to put in."

As for Watson, he is worried the citations will make his neighbors stop recycling altogether. But as a lifelong recycler, he says he will not let this be a deterrent. "I’m going to pay a lot closer attention, and I’m going to make sure I’m complying with the city and what they are wanting," Watson said.

If you are a St. Cloud resident who has received a citation, the city says you can reach them by phone at 407-957-7344 (use option #3), and they may be able to waive the fine. For residents with questions about the City's recycling program, you can find online resources available on St. Cloud's recycling page.