Over the past several years the recycling program offered by the Village of Angel Fire has seen many iterations. This is due to a number of factors, most of which have to do with the wider recycling industry and the availability of buyers for recyclable materials. Since the term, “Think global, act local” was coined, it has continued to develop as part of our collective consciousness. The present timely application of this ideology is brought to light through China’s recent embargo in receiving U.S. recyclable waste. The way that local entities handle their recycling in real and responsible ways has a true quantifiable global impact. Over the years China has received the world’s trash, primarily American, without question or much inspection. Now that China is trying to clean up their act, they are requiring that the recyclables coming into their country are in fact clean enough to use. This embargo highlights the fact that most of the items that we put into the recycle bin do not qualify; therefore, The National Recycling Coalition published a press release this week stating, “that it is important to remind your residential customers now that they should ONLY recycle the items on their LOCAL recyclables list… When in Doubt – throw it in the trash! (For reference to the entire article, go to:
Even though that is not what most of us want to hear, it is the current reality of the situation throughout the United States, items are either being stockpiled until another processing facility is found or items are diverted back into landfills. Ultimately, recyclables are an industry and when there is not a market for receiving those materials, there is nowhere for them to go except for the landfill. Unfortunately, The Village of Angel Fire is not in any different situation than the rest of the country. Although this is a sobering reality, we have to deal with it realistically and not continue to “wishfully recycle”.
The single most impactful action available to all of us is that of, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” keeping in mind that recycling is at the bottom of that list because it requires more energy and materials to turn waste back into a usable product. The Village of Angel Fire is continually evaluating and seeking recycling options; however, when there is not a buyer for the material or when the expense of preparing the material heavily outweighs the revenue it creates an unsustainable system. Presently, cardboard, iron and aluminum have proven to be sustainable commodities; whereas glass, paper and plastic prove more problematic.
Daily, we continue to evaluate better options for our community than what are currently available because we do believe that recycling is an important aspect to waste management; however, we need to ensure that whatever we endeavor is ultimately sustainable.
As an update, we would like residents to look out for the new signage that will be going up along Highway 434. Because these signs will be posted along state highway, it is the domain of the NMDOT. Currently, the signs are still in the approval phase within the State DOT.
If you have any further questions on the issue, please contact Brian Bredthauer, Solid Waste/recycling Superintendent or myself, Rick Tafoya, Village Manger by calling Village Hall at 575-377-3232.