Is your recycle trash really getting recycled?? Not if you use these guys!


No Lifer
Jun 7, 2001

(LOUISVILLE, March 4th, 2004, 12:30 p.m.) -- A WAVE 3 month-long investigation revealed evidence that a local sanitation company was charging its customers to pick up their recycling, then tossing it into the garbage. WAVE 3 Investigator Eric Flack has the story.

Dixie Sanitation, a trash and recycling collection company, has been in operation in Louisville's south end since 1956. The company has had a spotless record with the Better Business Bureau, but that's about to change.

Kevin Oliva is a Dixie Sanitation customer. "I put it out Wednesday night, they come early Thursday morning," he says, something he does at his wife's request. "I never recycled until I met her, she's the save the earth person."

His wife, Selena, admits she hopes recycling does some good. "I teach my fourth graders that we've got one place to live and we need to take care of it."

So the Oliva's don't mind paying Dixie $60 a year to pick up their recycling. More than 40 other families pay for the same service. The problem is, Dixie's been throwing all that recycling in the trash.

We staked out Dixie for more than a month, and during that time our cameras caught workers running their route in the recycling truck, then returning to Dixie's garage. A garbage truck was brought out, and the recycling was tossed in with the garbage.

Sometimes, Dixie didn't even bother to send a recycling truck to make pick-ups, using a regular garbage truck instead.

SP Recycling is the only recycling center in town. The owner there told us Dixie hadn't been there in almost a year.

On our final stakeout, Dixie operator J. R. McCorkle spotted our cameras. So, we weren't surprised when Dixie made a detour, and headed to SP Recycling for the first time in months.

So I confronted McCorkle, who didn't seem glad to see me. I asked him why he had been throwing away people's recycling, he replied, "We haven't been, sir. So I asked him to look at the video we shot of Dixie workers throwing away recyclables.

I pointed out that Dixie Sanitation has been charging people money to pick up and properly dispose of their recycling. "This is where we are supposed to bring it, sir." He then said if other workers weren't bringing it there, he wasn't aware of it.

But what about the days McCorkle ran the route himself? He seemed to have an answer for that. "We've got a recycling bin at the shop," he said. "We've got a storage bin we put it in."

Then I let him know that SP Recycling told us its workers haven't seen anyone from Dixie in nearly a year, and at that point, McCorkle didn't want to talk anymore. That's when the SP plant supervisor Darrin Hardy came over. "I don't recognize him, no," he said. "I mean he obviously doesn't know where things should be going." Gesturing to where McCorkle was dumping his load, Hardy said: "that's basically trash."

So Hardy showed McCorkle the layout. "What you see in that bin goes in there, and your newspaper goes on the other end."

McCorkle said SP must have changed the layout since the last time he was there. Hardy disagreed. "This layout's been like this since 1985, so nothing has changed."

Finally, one of McCorkel's employees, Mike, fessed up. "That part of the tape you got, that's me, and I'm the one that told those guys to throw it in that truck "

As McCorkle drove out, he tried to get paid for the materials he brought in, but messed that up too, and was left empty handed, kind of like his customers.

When pressed, McCorkle did say he would be willing to issue customers a refund. "If I have to, I will, yes."

That's fine with Selena Oliva. "I'd like to have my money back," she said. "I'd like to have a big fat check for a year's worth of recycling."

The Olivas were stunned by what they saw on our tape. "I mean that's shocking to know you pay for a service and what do they do -- they throw it right in the dump."

So for now, their recycling will stay in the garage.

We called the Attorney General's office and told them what we found. They told us Dixie Sanitation is in violation of the Consumer Protection Act and could face civil charges. The Attorney General's office has asked for a meeting to review our information.

It should be pointed out that just because Dixie Sanitation was scamming its customers doesn't mean all the other sanitation companies are doing the same. So if you're recycling, keep it up. It's the right thing to do.

Of course, if you're a Dixie Sanitation customer, you might want to change services.


Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
Not surprising. Lots of municiple recycling programs do the same thing to a large degree if not completely. Been a lot of stories over the years about the trailers at recycling drop off points being taken directly to the dump, or one type would be recyled and the rest dumped. Only difference is that's tax money, these customers got to pay directly to be screwed. That and it sounds like they may get a refund.