I’ll be honest: I still haven’t figured out the recycling pick-up schedule ever since it was halted last year during the pandemic. More on that later.

Some folks in El Paso say they have observed garbage collectors taking the blue recycling bins and just throwing them in with the regular, non-recyclable trash.

It’s pretty much proven that this HAS happened. Residents have seen the blue bins and the gray (non-recycling) bins both being emptied into the same sanitation trucks. At least one resident went up to the workers and asked them what was going on. So, yes, it HAS happened; the question is “how often does this happen?”.

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According to waste360.com, the waste management industry’s top website, an El Paso man was told by a sanitation driver that it was because the recycling in the area was “too contaminated”. El Paso Environmental Services confirmed that, indeed, this is their policy. Recycling that isn’t “clean” enough might get thrown it in with the regular trash.

Except, an El Pasoan in Sunset Heights took video of the trucks putting ALL the bins in his neighborhood into the same truck. EPESD has also confirmed that this happened.

So…why are we all separating the recycling if it all ends up in the same truck anyway? EPESD’s Nicholas Ybarra confirms that the resident was correct. A sanitation truck WAS putting recyclables and non-recyclables in the same truck. But, Ybarra says, this is an “isolated incident”

But, EPESD’s Nicholas Ybarra says that the situation was an isolated incident that has been addressed with that particular driver and crew. Here’s the story from KVIA:

So, homeowners might remember that late in 2020 the city of El Paso halted recycling pick-up because they didn’t have enough workers due to the pandemic. Collection sites were set up but those were widely panned as being under-staffed, causing long lines and blocking traffic. THEN, in January, the city announced they would resume recycling pick ups but that the return would be “phased in” gradually.

It’s four months later and I still haven’t been able to figure out which week my recycling gets picked up. So, I just put BOTH bins out on the street every week. Sometimes the recycling is collected, sometimes it isn’t. But it doesn’t conform to my scheduled pick up days of every-other-Friday. Sometimes my recycling is collected two weeks in a row…which is GREAT for me, anyway. Maybe my recycling is too contaminated, a possibility I acknowledge. But, if that’s the case, how is that an INCENTIVE to recycle? I’m getting my blue bin emptied more often than my neighbors who, presumably, do a better job of separating their trash.

Look, I consider myself and environmentalist and I want to do the right thing when I recycle. It doesn’t help that John Oliver did an episode of “Last Week Tonight” recently that kind of portrayed recycling in America as ineffective, fundamentally flawed and essentially a failure. Have a look…

WHOA:Gnarly El Paso Sights