Fashion Valley Mall making recycling changes after Team 10 investigation

SAN DIEGO - An investigation by the Team 10 Troubleshooter has led to changes to a local shopping mall's recycling policies.

Witnesses informed Team 10 that Fashion Valley Mall was not properly recycling garbage from its food court, despite there being separate containers for garbage and recycled material.

Team 10 learned that all garbage from the mall's food court ended up in the same landfill.

One witness told Team 10 that he noticed a janitor putting garbage and recyclables in the same cart. He said he complained to management, but no changes were made.

Using a GPS device, Team 10 learned that all garbage and recycled material from the food court went into the same compactor. The waste management company told Team 10 the food court compactor can hold nine tons of waste over a two-day period. Once the waste is smashed and compacted, it's sent to the city landfill.

Businesses must recycle under a San Diego ordinance.

On Thursday, Fashion Valley Mall officials issued the following statement to Team 10:

"We have identified two opportunities to improve our recycling conversion rate. We implemented a new process where trash and recyclables are now collected in different colored bags and transported separately via clearly marked bins to be sorted into the appropriate compactors. To help combat cross-contamination in the trash and recycling receptacles, we are creating new signage for our shoppers that will be in place in the next 10-14 days."

The city sent Team 10 a list of business and event locations that were fined after being found in violation of the city's recycling ordinance. Here's a look at the offenders on a map:

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