The All-Star team from the Rio Grande recycling corridor is ready to become a powerhouse for recycling in New Mexico and El Paso. From left: Shirlene Sitton, Santa Fe Solid Waste; Jill Holbert, Albuquerque Solid Waste; Patrick Peck, South Central Solid Waste Authority; Kurt Fenstermacher, El Paso Environmental Services Department; Rafael Leos, SCSWA; Neal Denton, Santa Fe Environmental Services Division; Michaela Beggins, Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency; Miguel Fernandez, SCSWA. (Photo: Green Connections)
The South Central Solid Waste Authority is partnering with cities up and down the Rio Grande — Las Cruces, Albuquerque, El Paso and Santa Fe — to empower the recycling efforts of all involved.
“When we partner, we wield more power in our efforts to negotiate what recycling will look like for all of us throughout the cities and counties along the Rio Grande,” says Patrick Peck, director of the SCSWA.
In mid-June, the New Mexico Recycling Coalition and the National Recycling Coalition brought together a powerhouse list of speakers from all over the country for the Regional Recycling Market Development Workshop in Albuquerque, attracting 88 attendees from New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and even South Carolina and Minnesota. Together, new ideas were presented, and the new coalition was announced: the Rio Grande Recycling Corridor.
“We’ve always had a relationship with different agencies through the state, and especially with El Paso,” noted Peck, “but now it’s time to make sure our communication to customers is very clear and we show recycling businesses that we are ready for them to invest regionally, using our end market high-quality materials.”
Right out of the chute, the group announced that SCSWA had been awarded a $125,000 grant to develop and coordinate education on “recycling right” on the Rio Grande corridor. Recycling Right will focus on the quality of materials recycled and decreasing food contamination in recyclables, which was Morris Friedman’s number one concern.
Friedman, co-owner of Friedman Recycling, is the main recycling processor for the entire region. “Our biggest worry is contamination — whether it’s non-recyclable materials or something like food waste,” Friedman said at the conference.
“It starts at the curb, and we must communicate clearly with our customers about clean, high-quality recyclables, “said Kurt Fenstermacher, city of El Paso deputy director of environmental services. “It’s about regional partnerships that tie us together to make recycling grow strong for our customers.”
Green Connections is submitted by the South Central Solid Waste Authority managing solid waste, recyclables, and working to stop illegal dumping for residents and businesses throughout Doña Ana County. Contact the SCSWA at 575-528-3800 or visit www.SCSWA.net.
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