Recycling is one bin too far for most El Paso businesses

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EL PASO — For most El Paso residents recycling has become a part of their daily lives. City householders own a blue container used for recycling purposes only, but this differs from commercial recycling thus making the process more complex.

“Business recycling is handled by each individual business hires a private hauler that will come and pick up their trash and recycling,” said City of El Paso, Recycling Program manager, Eloisa Portillo. The City of El Paso Environmental Services Department is responsible for residential recycling, but El Paso businesses must make an extra effort in order to have their paper and plastic material recycled. A business must personally call a private hauler to have a special truck pick up their recyclables.

In 2010 some 37, 584 tons of residential recyclables were collected and an average between 13,000-18,000 tons of garbage by commercial customers are delivered to the landfill per month. This excludes small businesses that take trash to the landfill using their own pickup trucks, but it is unknown how much of that is recyclable because once it goes to the landfill it is all waste.

(©iStockphoto/ranplett)

(©iStockphoto/ranplett)

Most businesses choose to not recycle for reasons of complication or because it is too expensive on their monthly bills. “The company thinks it may be a little too expensive and it takes time for the crewmembers to separate recyclables each time.”

School districts, apartment complexes, and malls are also considered part of commercial recycling. Each must have their recycling material personally taken or like every other business they must contact a private hauler. “There are bins in each individual classroom that are specially set up for recycling,” said Coronado High School teacher, Lee Beck. “We have two big, red bins and they do a recycling pick up twice a week,” she said. More often than commercial businesses schools are usually encouraged to recycle.

The Friedman Recycling Company is one of the largest recycling companies in El Paso to which most recyclables are taken. It is a family owned recycling/waste management company operating in Phoenix, Tucson, and El Paso. The Pointe apartments are one of the very few apartment complexes that choose to recycle. “We choose to recycle because we contract with Friedman Recycling. We pay a monthly for the service and we feel it is a huge benefit for us and for the residents, said Kristen Sizemomre, Property Supervisor at Bohannon Development Corporation.

Many local business owners seem to care about the environment, but most of them find other ways to recycle other than by calling a private hauler. “What we are trying to do is recycle the water, recycle the packages, when our products arrive, and we are very concerned about our planet and everything we can do to save our planet and to make it a better place to live,” said Executive Flowers owner, Juan Ignaceo Mateos. With the work of maintaining their business it is hard for many to find the time to make phone calls to private haulers. Most prefer to find other ways to recycle that are less time consuming and often times they don’t even know whether the trash is recycled or not.

El Paso Disposal and Heist Disposal are two of the major garbage collectors in the city. Heist Disposal is not in charge of any recycling, but El Paso Disposal does have a commercial recycling program. A business must request a special bin from El Paso Disposal used for only recycling materials and a small monthly fee is charged to them just as with any other private hauler. “It costs too much for the city to put out these recycling bins for businesses,” said Barbara Askins, El Paso Disposal sales representative.

Unlike households, businesses are not receiving any type encouragement for recycling. This could also be a possibility for why many continue to not recycle. “At this time the city doesn’t have the ability to offer incentives to businesses to recycle. We are hoping in the future to have incentives offered to the haulers to encourage them to pick up recycling,” said Portillo.

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