City inspectors check for proper items in recycling bins

Community

The City of El Paso is asking the community to be more mindful of what is being thrown in their blue bins. 

Some residents are having their blue bins turned around and red-tagged. Inspectors are checking inside blue bins making sure contaminants aren’t being thrown in such as styrofoam, pizza boxes and plastic bags. 

Recycling Manager Reann Ortega, says plastic bags have not been allowed to be placed in blue bins since June of 2018.

“It’s for two reasons. On a windy day we end up seeing the plastic bags everywhere. It gets tangled in our trees, in our landscaping, in our fences and so we no longer take it for that reason,” she explains. “The other reason is our third party facility no longer takes it because it creates an operational hazard. It gets stuck in the conveyor belt.”

According to the city, the contamination rate in the Sun City is nearly double the national average.

“In 2016, we started with a contamination rate of approximately 27 percent, and now we’re approximately at 35percent,” Ortega tells KTSM. “For anything over 14 percent of contamination, we as a city pay approximately $46 a ton to get those recyclables out the recycling facility and into the landfill.”

Officials say people should see the red tags as strikes — if they get a total of three red tags, the city will take back the blue bin. They say their main goal is to educate the public for cleaner Borderland. 

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