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El Paso plans to bring curbside recycling back ‘soon’ as long lines endure at city collection sites

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Trash and recycling sits out ready for pickup.

EL PASO, Texas -- It's been nearly a month since the city of El Paso suspended its curbside recycling program, forcing people to find another way to recycle. Now, the city said the program will be reinstated in either January or February.

The announcement comes on a day when some people were waiting in line for more than an hour to drop off their recycling at Citizen Collection Sites around El Paso.

"It's always long with just trash, but with recycling on top of it, it's really, really long," Ellen Smyth, the city's director of Environmental Services, said Tuesday.

ABC-7 asked Smyth if they the city had a plan knowing lines are long the week after Christmas and the curbside recycling program has been suspended.

Smyth told ABC-7, the problem is they don't have enough people because they've been out sick during the pandemic.

"If we had more people, we wouldn't be doing this," Smyth said. "We are still waiting for all our employees to come back, so we wish we had more employees but we don't."

In lieu of waiting in line, Smyth advises people to throw their recycling in the trash bin, which is taken to the landfill.

"If you're [not] willing to spend the hour, then that's the other alternative," Smyth said.

When the city suspended the program, they had 60 solid waste truck drivers, which was down from 82.

Tuesday, city officials did not know the number of drivers currently working.

As ABC-7 previously reported, the city said it saves approximately $7,900 per week not collecting recycling.

Shelby Montgomery

Las Cruces native Shelby Montgomery is an ABC-7 reporter who also co-anchors Good Morning El Paso weekends.

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