Starting July 1, the fee for your blue curbside recycling bin is going up 35 cents per month for residential customers, from $6.65 to $7. Blue bins are for accepted recyclables only and are emptied every other week.
If you are not sure of your recycling days, it’s easy and free to sign up for Recycle Coach by visiting www.SCSWA.net. With Recycle Coach you receive a text message the afternoon before your bin is scheduled to be picked up; it’s a quick reminder to take your blue bin to the curb.
The big issue with recycling continues to be contamination. Las Cruces contamination rate is almost 25 percent. The big problems are: bagged recyclables, plastic bags, Styrofoam, lightweight greasy food packaging, greasy pizza boxes and fast-food packaging. All of these contaminants dramatically lower the quality of recyclables and increase the cost of recycling as they must be removed by hand.
“We’re trying our best to keep the program sustainable,” said Patrick Peck, director of the South Central Solid Waste Authority. “There is a great demand to make sure all of us do our part where recycling starts – at home.”
The SCSWA contracts with Friedman Recycling to manage Las Cruces’ recyclables. Friedman hauls 600 tons of recyclables every month from Las Cruces to their Materials Recovery Facility in northeast El Paso where the recyclables go onto a conveyor belt and workers sort through and throw out contaminated products by hand.
“Our contamination rates are an issue,” Peck explained. “If a load has too many issues — with grease, for example — Friedman will reject it and everything ends up in the landfill.”
He said, “Once recyclables are sorted and baled, as much as possible, everything is going to regional U.S. facilities now… but we’re still paying the same price, over $100 per ton, to send our materials to be processed. Until more regional facilities open and the market expands, we have to make sure that we can keep our program running.”
Residents in Las Cruces are reminded to follow the guidance on their blue bins for a statewide initiative called “Know What to Throw.” Quick tips include:
- Do not bag recyclables
- Recyclables must be clean, dry and loose in the blue bin
- No cords
- No electronic waste
- No Styrofoam
- No food waste that can ruin an entire load of recyclables
South Central Solid Waste Authority manages solid waste, recyclables, and works to stop illegal dumping for residents and businesses throughout Doña Ana County. Contact the SCSWA at 575-528-3800 or visit www.SCSWA.net.