The ABC's of El Paso's Curbside Recycling Program

The information provided below is to alleviate some of the confusion in the community regarding the up and coming curbside recycling program. Provided are questions most frequently asked with the correct answers.

A. WHEN DOES THE CURBSIDE RECYCLING PROGRAM START? Collection for the curbside recycling program begins the week of April 22, 2007. That week take your blue recycle bin to the curb the same day that you take your garbage to the curb.

B. WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL APRIL 22, 2007? Friedman Brothers Incorporated, the company which has been contracted to sort and sell the recyclables, are in the process of building their Material Recovery Facility. It will not be completed until late March 2007. Also, Environmental Services is still in the process of delivering 160,000 blue recycle bins throughout the community. Delivery will be complete by the beginning of April 2007.


D. WHY IS RECYCLING IMPORTANT TO OUR COMMUNITY? El Paso is one of the largest communities that does no actively recycle. The national average of participation in recycling programs is 35% and El Paso is currently at only 2%.By our community participating in the curbside recycling program El Paso will save valuable resources. For example we can eventually save 595,000 trees and 115,500 cubic yards of landfill space! The success of the curbside recycle program depends on everyone getting involved and recycling properly.

E. IS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES CLOSING THE CITIZEN COLLECTION SITES (CCS)? NO ! The six CCS's will remain open. Until collections begin for the curbside recycling program, April 22, 2007, we encourage the community to take your recyclables to the CCS's. After the curbside recycle program begins you can still take your HHW (household hazardous waste), extra trash and large bulky items such as sofas, TVs, etc. to the CCS's.

F. Will I be fined if I don't recycle or if I do it wrong? The recycling program is not a stand-alone program, but part of our integrated solid waste management services the City provides to its residents. It is a core function as defined by ordinance. For example… if you drive a car, you have to obey the rules of the road. If you don't drive, well then.... Point taken - if you put the blue recycle bin on the curb, it is expected that you will adhere to the specifics of the curbside recycling program.

If people do put things in the recycling bin that shouldn't be recycled, you "could" be cited (not fined). City Council has not yet determined if there will be a fine, but that could change at any time. As for formal citations, we will not go down that path unless absolutely necessary. Environmental Services' plan, and that of code enforcement and Keep El Paso Beautiful, is to educate, educate and re-educate. This is a new program that will take some time to get underway. The goal of our educational campaign is to increase awareness and educate the resident about the program but also to reduce the amount of contamination in the recyclable material. The more contamination in the material, the less $ the material is worth. We certainly don't want to punish people for trying to do the right thing!