Recycling Right in Santa Fe

recycle truck

A critical element of sustainable planning in Santa Fe is waste reduction. Through consistent and conscious action to reduce, re-use, and recycle, we not only lower our landfill contributions, but limit pollution in our air and water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions entering our atmosphere.

Why Recycling Matters

Solid waste from our homes, schools, and businesses doesn’t disappear once placed in the trash bin. Residential trash and waste from our community is sent to landfills, which can have a variety of negative impacts on our environment and atmosphere.

Waste in landfills does not simply decompose: the lack of oxygen in landfill environment causes organic waste to produce methane as it breaks down, a potent greenhouse gas with a significantly higher warming potential than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, liquid runoff from decaying waste can contaminate soil and water sources, posing risks to both human and environmental health.

Reducing waste creation, composting organic materials, and properly recycling can reduce the negative impacts of landfill waste in our community and help Santa Fe reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as a whole.

What Can I Recycle?

Only certain materials are suitable to be recycled into new materials and goods – and when in doubt, best practice is to throw it out. Non-recyclable materials placed in blue bins can disrupt the sorting process and cause difficulties in recycling materials that are eligible.

The following materials are always acceptable to place in your blue recycling bin: 

  • Aluminum cans, properly rinsed and dried
  • Fully empty plastic bottles and jugs, with any residue removed from the inside of the container
  • Milk and juice cartons, rinsed and dried
  • Paper and cardboard, clean –no food grease

Glass and bottles can be brought to Santa Fe’s Recycling Drop Off Sites, or should otherwise be placed in your trash. Styrofoam, plastic bags, and tanglers should always be placed in your trash. Tanglers are long, rope-like items that get caught in the industrial recycling facility (hoses, clothing, sheets, leashes, chains, etc.).

Looking to find out if a specific item can be put in your recycling bin? Use the FREE Recycle Coach app by scanning the QR code in the image above or following this link.

Recycling in Santa Fe is collected in blue residential recycling bins or can be dropped off at one of our three drop-off sites for recycling – these sites are for recycling only and do not accept trash drop offs:

  • 4009 Lucia Lane (off Airport Road)
  • 2950 Agua Fria St (near Agua Fria and Siler intersection)
  • 2500 Buckman Road (BuRRT)

How Does Recycling Work?

Recyclable materials collected at Recycling Centers or via residential bins are sorted right here in Santa Fe at the Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station (BuRRT). The Materials Recover Facility at BuRRT is the most advanced recycling facility in New Mexico, with the capacity to serve the needs of the city for years to come.

Once waste is sorted at BuRRT, materials are baled to be sold and shipped to manufacturers who make the materials into new products. Ensuring that only accepted materials are placed into your blue cart means that more materials can be properly sorted, baled, and re-used down the line!

Call-to-Action: Reduce and Re-use, then Recycle Right

When it comes to reducing waste, recycling is important – but it shouldn’t be our first line of action. Reducing waste creation in the first place through smarter consumption conserves resources, energy, and waste impacts. In the United States, food waste is the top landfilled item, so creating smarter shopping lists and utilizing composting can make a big difference in our landfill contributions.

Creative reuse around the home, office, and even in art projects can also help “upcycle” used containers and goods. When dealing with unwanted or used items in your home, consider donating to secondhand stores before tossing things in the bin.

When it finally comes to the end of the line, make sure your recyclable goods are sorted properly by following Recycle Right protocols and utilizing the Recycle Coach app to mitigate your impacts and move towards a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable Santa Fe.