- Santa Fe is expanding its city curbside recycling program to include phone books, cereal boxes, egg cartons, paperback and hardcover books, plastics including yogurt tubs and salad clamshells, milk cartons, and drink boxes. Santa Fe County residents can drop off the same items at rural collection sites.
- The change comes as Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency has entered into a contract with Albuquerque-based Friedman Recycling to outsource the sorting of recyclable materials.
- The contract is expected to save the agency $200,000 a year. It will share in the resale value of materials collected, and that returned revenue will support the program and its operating costs, rather than passing costs on to customers.
The expanded program is not only a financial win, but it will also allow for residents to recycle materials more easily and frequently. Now, the Solid Waste Management Agency's Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station won't have to sort the items, and diverting more materials saves the agency the cost of expanding the Caja del Rio Landfill.
"For us as an agency, our goal is to make sure that we’re running our programs efficiently and that for us, recycling allows us to extend the life of the landfill," says Adam Schlachter, education and outreach coordinator for the agency. "Our goal is to make sure that it doesn’t cost us any more to recycle than it would to build more capacity at the landfill."
Schlachter also told the Santa Fe Reporter that the domestic market for recyclable materials is growing. That raises hopes, he said, that the materials will be returned to U.S. manufacturing centers rather than those in China or India.