City temporarily suspends curbside recycling collections starting Dec. 1

Community

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Starting Dec. 1, curbside recycling collections will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Effective Dec. 1, only gray trash bins will be collected. The suspension is due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19, according to a news release from the City of El Paso Environmental Services. Customers will still be able to take recyclables to a Citizen Collection Station drop-off site (locations listed below).

“Unfortunately, our workforce has been hit hard by the pandemic. We must temporarily scale back some operations to ensure that we can continue to perform our essential solid waste services, which are operating the landfill and collection of household trash,” said Ellen Smyth, Environmental Services Department Managing Director. “During these uncertain times, we are asking our customers for their understanding and cooperation by putting their blue bins away as we work to address these staffing shortages.”

According to the news release, the department provides nearly 200,000 homes with curbside trash and recycling collections. The monthly service fee charged to customers is solely for emptying gray bins and customers are not charged a monthly fee for recycling collection services.

Texas law requires residential trash be collected at least once weekly. On a daily basis, approximately 80 drivers are needed to collect both trash and recyclables efficiently, but recently sickness and vacancies have left the department more than 20 drivers short on any given work day.

Environmental Services will host a series of virtual town hall sessions about solid waste disposal options during this time. To participate in any of the sessions, visit https://bit.ly/3f81lRy or dial the toll free number 1-833-664-9267 and enter conference ID # 308964197). The sessions will be held on Tuesday, and on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, all at 5:30 p.m.

The Environmental Services Department offered tips for dealing with recyclables during this time:

  • You may place materials (recyclables and trash) in the gray bin for weekly collection. Recyclables will be landfilled, not recycled.
  • If you are able, store recyclable material until the recycling program resumes.
  • If you are able, take recyclable material to a drop-off site. (Locations below). Materials should be loose when placed in the bins at the sites. No bagged material will be accepted.
  • Contact Environmental Services at (915) 212-6000 to schedule a special collection for extra household trash or bulk items. Rates start at $35.

The five drop-off sites accept extra household trash, recyclables and bulky items. The sites are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and are located at:

  • 2492 Harrison
  • 1034 Pendale
  • 4501 Hondo Pass
  • 3510 Confederate
  • 121 Atlantic

For more information, contact Environmental Services at (915) 212-6000.

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