After curbside recycling services were temporarily discontinued in December due to staffing shortages related to the pandemic, El Paso residents can now expect it to return January 19, according to a city press release.

The city says recycling routes will be phased in, meaning collection will be staggered and not all residents will have their blue bin emptied in the first week. This approach will give the Environmental Services Department the time it needs to get back to every other week collection.

The re-start of the program, however, could result in a future increase in your monthly solid waste bill, and El Pasoans clamoring for the city to bring it back is partly why.

“It’s clear El Paso wants this program regardless of the cost, and so in order to meet those demands we will be looking at our rates,” Ellen Smyth, director of the City of El Paso's Environmental Services Department, said in an interview with one of the local news stations.

The city does not charge for the blue bin, in fact, recycling is voluntary, but the current monthly fee per gray trash bin is $19 with an added $5 "environmental fee."

“But if we want to pay [our drivers] more or hire more drivers, or open more [collection] sites we certainly can, it’s all about the final dollar,” Smyth added. “So we’ll be looking at those options as well.”

As far as the resumption of curbside pickup, all customers should have curbside services restored by mid-February, per the city press release. Starting the week of 1/11, customers will be able to check their updated recycling collection schedule by visiting www.elpasotexas.gov/ESD or may also call (915) 212-6000 for more information.