Curbside Recycling Program to undergo changes in El Paso

By Paul Ploumis

EL PASO, Texas – The City of El Paso is gearing up to modify its Curbside Recycling Program to improve its service delivery by plugging recently identified performance gaps.

When the blue bins were first distributed in 2007, the program lacked a mechanism for tracking the rate at which customers set out their bins and other vital metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of the program. As a result, recycling collection trucks have been running routes where less than half of the bins are set out for collection, and the majority of those containers placed on the curb are less than a quarter full.

“We now have the data to make impactful service improvements in the delivery of recycling collections,” Environmental Services Department Director Ellen Smyth, said. “A cultural change in City management empowering and encouraging us to improve performance by identifying and gaps in processes has enabled us to gather the metrics we need to deliver a more efficient recycling service to our customers.”

Recycling collections will shift to every other week collections on March 31, as data shows more than half of customers consistently choose to not place their blue bins out on a weekly basis. Customers will see improved on-time recycling collections through the new operational efficiencies, less wear and tear on streets, and expanded solid waste services through the reallocations of savings resulting from these changes.

The improved recycling operations will result in approximately $2.6 million in savings that will be invested in expanding and enhancing Citizen Collection Station services. These sites, conveniently located within neighborhoods allow residents the ability to dispose of bulky waste, such as furniture, extra trash, and hazardous household waste at no cost.

Environmental Services is also introducing the Opt-In Program solely for new customers to combat recycling contamination. New customers will be given the option to participate in the curbside recycling program. If they opt-in the program, they will be provided with a bin and a class highlighting items accepted in the recycling program. Existing Environmental Services Department customers are all grandfathered into the recycling program. To learn more about the recycling program, visit