October 2015

Santa Fe’s Expanded Recycling Program Bears Fruit

Adam Schlachter


There has been much discussion about the local recycling program, both in the city of Santa Fe and in Santa Fe County. Three entities—the city’s Environmental Services Division, the Santa Fe County Solid Waste Department and the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency—play different roles in the system, but work very closely together to support recycling efforts. As of July 2015, the agency, which manages the materials handling sections of the system, signed a contract with Friedman Recycling of Albuquerque to process and market all recyclable materials collected in Santa Fe. Due to this new contract, city and county residents in are now able to recycle more items, and we are seeing more diversion every day.

City of Santa Fe:
Expanded recycling at the curb now includes: all plastic (no number restrictions) containers, junk mail, colored papers, white paper and hardback books, brown bags, magazines, telephone books, newspapers, tissue boxes, towel/tissue rolls, paper egg cartons, beverage containers, cereal boxes, milk and soup containers, juice boxes, aluminum cans and foil, steel cans and cardboard (bundled, next to the bin). Shredded paper should be placed in clear plastic bags on top of the blue bin. NO: glass, Styrofoam, food-contaminated materials, green waste or plastic bags.
In the event your recycling bin fills up with the expanded mix of materials, all city residents are able to go to the Environmental Services Division on Siler Road and get additional bins.

The city Environmental Services Division, with assistance from the Solid Waste Management Division, will be working to increase commercial recycling efforts throughout Santa Fe.

The city is still considering automated recycling collection, although no decision has been made at this point.

The city is researching alternative means for disposal of solid waste, with an emphasis on reuse and utilizing waste as a resource.

Santa Fe County:
Based on a decision by the County Commission at the Aug. 25, 2015 meeting, the commission is considering creating three collection districts for solid waste collection. Within these districts, any household that signs up for trash will automatically get recycling as well, bundled as one service. It will not be mandatory for customers to subscribe to curbside service, and customers will be able to choose from several haulers. All trash and recycling will still be collected at the eight county convenience centers for residents inside and outside of the collection districts.

All eight county convenience centers now take the same materials that the city curbside program collects. Since the convenience centers utilize larger containers for the collection of items, toys and large plastic items are the additional items that county residents can recycle. Recycling is free at all convenience centers.

Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency
The agency, having recently signed a contract with Friedman Recycling to process and market all of the recyclable materials dropped off at the Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station (BuRRT) by city and county residents and self-haulers, has shut down our internal recovery operations, and now loads tractor-trailers that transfer recycling to Albuquerque.

The agency will continue to work very closely with Friedman Recycling to ensure the viability of the materials collected in our program and how they impact the markets that drive recycling. Currently, due to market constrictions, we don’t anticipate any further expansion to our recycling program. However, the agency is dedicated to diversion from the Caja del Río landfill and will identify and add materials to the program as it becomes practical.

During the month of August 2015, the agency collected and transferred approximately 868 tons of mixed recycling. For the month of August 2014, the agency collected 560 tons. Based on these numbers we have seen an increase of 308 tons, or a 55 percent increase in the amount of materials that BuRRT processes. We anticipate these numbers to continue to increase as more residents participate.

We welcome feedback from all residents. Please contact each agency directly with questions, concerns or information.

City of Santa Fe Environmental Services Division: 955.2200, www.santafenm.gov/trash_and_recycling

Santa Fe County Solid Waste Division: 992.3010, www.santafecountynm.gov/public_works/solidwaste

Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency: 424.1850, ext. 420, www.SantaFeRecycling.org

Adam Schlachter is with the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency.

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