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El Paso seeks to reduce recycling contamination rate

EL PASO, Texas -- The city of El Paso's Environmental Services Department is working hard to reduce our recycling contamination rate.  

While many El Pasoans are doing a great job recycling, others are throwing off the efforts by basically using their blue bins as a second trash can.

"People are putting metals, construction work, yard waste and trash...the stuff that when it makes it to the facility, we have to transport it to the landfill," says Diana Nunez.

Nunez works for the City of El Paso's Environmental Services Department and teaches the city's "Recycling Challenge" class online.  She says transporting all that trash from the recycling center to the landfill costs the city money.  It also contaminates other potential recyclables on the conveyer belt, and inspectors waste valuable time removing unwanted items that could jam their equipment.

"When in doubt, throw it in the trash bin.  Don't wish-cycle, and put it in hoping it's recyclable, becuase you just contaminated your bin," Nunez adds.

If your bin is heavy when you roll it out to the curb, that could be clue number one that you may be doing something wrong.  Most recyclable items are pretty light.  

Inspectors make random checks, and if you're caught misusing and/or abusing your blue recycling bin, it could ultimately be taken away.  If you need a refresher on what is and isn't acceptable in your blue bin, check out her free class - you can even earn cool prizes.  

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Article Topic Follows: El Paso

Hillary Floren

Hillary Floren co-anchors ABC-7’s Good Morning El Paso.


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