It turns out a bag of dog poop is to blame for a truck-load of recycling being tossed in the landfill in Paradise this week.
People on social media were questioning what the town actually does with recyclables left out at the curb, when a photo began circulating showing a truck dumping a load of blue bags with the garbage.
But Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett says the crews had a good reason for it: a bag of dog poo had exploded inside the truck, coating the recyclables.
"Unfortunately, when that happens it contaminates the entire load of recyclables and then it's a health and safety issue for the sorters in the recycling depot to pull it apart and sort it," said Bobbett.
'We've had situations where bags have burst open with large quantities of animal feces and it's actually sprayed all over the operator.' - Paul Mackey
"They had to dump it."
Bobbett said the workers still aren't sure how it happened, or why there was a bag of poo in with recycling, but he wants residents to know the town takes recycling seriously.
"The first reaction when people saw that picture that was on Facebook the other morning was, 'Oh, this is what happens to our recycling.' That's not the case. We do an education program, we've been rolling it out here now for the last couple of years," he said.
How much poo is too much poo?
Paul Mackey, deputy city manager of public works with the City of St. John's, said this kind of thing doesn't happen often — but certainly often enough.
"We've had situations where bags have burst open with large quantities of animal feces and it's actually sprayed all over the operator, all over the truck, caused a major problem all over the street, and that's a real safety issue apart from everything else," said Mackey.
As for how much poo is too much poo to put out for curbside pickup? Mackey says the official answer is any.
"I guess our official answer is we don't want people putting animal feces in the garbage, but if you only have a very small quantity certainly you could put it out, but take precautions," he said.
"Put it in a bag and mix it with either some absorbent material such as kitty litter or coarse sawdust or newspaper — something to absorb the liquid."
The best measure for what to put in the garbage bags you place outside, according to Mackey, is "common sense."
Mackey added residents can drop off large quantities at the Robin Hood Bay facility themselves, as well, whenever it is open.