El Paso, TX

City of El Paso Holding Recycling Challenge to Reduce Contamination Rate by 2023

Leah O'Daniel

Plastic bottlesPhoto by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

The Environmental Services Department (ESD) of El Paso has launched a new challenge for citizens. The goal of the challenge is to reduce the contamination rate for recyclables. The city experiences a higher-than-average rate of contaminants included in recycling.

Currently, the national average for recycling contamination is around 25%. El Paso's curbside recycling contaminants rate is around 32%. For reference, contaminants refer to any item that the material recovery facility does not accept. The city set a goal to bring this rate down to 23% by 2023. They are hopeful this new initiative will help.

The initiative offers a color-coded belt system that rewards and encourages citizens along the way. The three levels are black belt, green belt, and yellow belt.

The Environmental Services Department created Recycling 101 as a virtual class to bring awareness to items accepted by the material recovery facility. Per the ESD website, the class is the first step in the new program for citizens to earn one of the three belts in the recycling reward program.

The list of contaminants not accepted by the Environmental Services Department are:

· Bagged Recyclables

· Foam

· Textiles

· Yard Waste

· Food

· Liquids

· Glass

· Pizza Boxes

· Plastic Bags

· Styrofoam

· Tanglers (wires, electronics, hoses etc)

Want to get involved or learn more? To participate, citizens can sign up for the challenge here. Not sure how to dispose of items on this list? To recycle any of the items listed above or dispose of any hazardous materials, find the citizen collection site nearest you here.

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Freelance writer. Adventuring military spouse sharing my favorite local spots across the US.

El Paso County, TX

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