EL MIRAGE, AZ — Residents in El Mirage are getting a heads up that the city's recycling program is being suspended, effective immediately, and becoming the latest city to suspend its recycling service.
The City of Surprise suspended its service back in 2019 and Mesa followed shortly after, drastically limiting the materials its residents could recycle. Those cities, like many across the country, cited cost as the reason, as overseas companies stopped buying those materials and it became too expensive to process.
Residents will receive an automatic $2.20 credit on their monthly utility bill starting with the February billing cycle, and no extra steps are required from account holders.
Officials said the program will restart once it's possible.
Blue recycle containers can still be placed curbside, however, all items contained in the blue bins will be processed as regular garbage. All items should be bagged and tied before placing in either container to ensure proper collection from Parks and Sons.
Costs aside, the city of El Mirage said an apparent fire at the recycling processing facility is the reason for the suspension.
"It's our understanding from our provider that they had a recent fire and they're actually doing repairs, so as soon as those repairs are complete, it's our understanding that we'll be able to resume our recycling service," said Kari Sliva, a marketing and communications specialist with the city.
Sliva said despite what other cities have done, El Mirage intends to begin recycling service again when the facility is up and running again.
"There are a number of cities that have had to discontinue theirs, but it is our intention to continue the service once the facility becomes available again," she said.
Ashley Mickelson, a resident, said she values the recycling program. She said it's actually part of her son's daily chores.
"I would actually like to see recycling continued. I think it helps with the environment in general, and I would like for it to come back once it's available," she said.
To learn more about what can be recycled and answers to frequently asked questions visit: ElMirageAZ.gov/Recycling.
During this suspension, recyclables will temporarily be rerouted to the landfill, which is currently the only viable option.