EL PASO, Texas -- The City of El Paso won't be picking up your blue recycling bins for the rest of the year -- and no, your bill won't be going down.
City officials made the decision this past week to suspend the collection of recycling for the month of December due to a shortage of drivers caused by Covid-19.
Many ABC-7 viewers frustrated with the decision right at the start of the holiday season asked the same question -- will my bill be smaller?
"The monthly service fee charged to customers is solely for emptying grey bins," the city's Facebook page states. "Customers are not charged a monthly fee for recycling collection services."
ABC-7 took a closer look at the breakdown of El Paso's monthly bill. It clearly indicates under the "City of El Paso Environmental Services (ESD) Charges" a charge of $19 for "grey trash bin."
But there is also a $5 "environmental fee."
"The environmental fee is not for recycling collections," said Laura Cruz-Acosta, a city spokeswoman. "It is used for various other services such as but not limited to environmental remediation (of asbestos), graffiti removal, street sweeping, code compliance, and alley cleaning -- to name a few."
So what can you do?
· 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 are listed below). Materials should be loose when placed in the bins at the sites. No bagged material will be accepted.
· Contact the ESD at (915) 212-6000 to schedule a special collection for extra household trash or bulk items. Rates start at $35.
The drop-off sites will be resuming normal operations on Dec. 1 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday) and are located at: 2492 Harrison (central), 1034 Pendale (east), 4501 Hondo Pass (northeast), 3510 Confederate (east), and 121 Atlantic (west).
While you won't be saving any money -- the city will. A city spokeswoman tells ABC-7 it will save an estimated $7,900 per week while recycling collection is suspended.
There is no date yet when recycling collection will resume.