By Cambi Brown

STOCKTON (CBS13) – Trash in recycling bins is becoming a common sight in Stockton.

It’s such a problem – with only about 50 percent of people sorting correctly – that Waste Management is starting to reward people for separating their garbage from their recyclables.

“We want to do what’s best for the environment,” said Todd Nienhouse, Waste Management’s Stockton district manager.

If people don’t recycle, it can become a problem for our landfills.

“If we’re throwing away more recyclable materials, it uses up the air space that we have,” Nienhouse said.

Even with limited resources, trash collectors are sometimes having to dig through the trash.

“When you start to put trash in the recycle cart, it contaminates the other materials and we end up having to sort through it,” Nienhouse said.

The new rewards program is called “Recycle Often, Recycle Right.”  It’s rewarding people who are recycling with money.

“Putting them in a drawing for a $50 gift card if they are recycling right,” Nienhouse said.

And for those who continue to not sort their trash, they could be penalized.

“For those customers who aren’t recycling right, we are leaving a note and a decal,” Nienhouse said.

The next step is to charge customers $8.22 every time there is trash in the recycling bin.

Waste management is hoping the incentive will encourage people to do what they say is the right thing. One person a week will win the $50. Extra staff will be walking through neighborhoods checking the bins.

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