Waste Reduction through Sustainable Materials Management in Rural New Mexico

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The New Mexico Recycling Coalition (NMRC) received a competitive grant from the USDA's Rural Utilities Services in October of 2020.  The funding supports efforts through September of 2021 to divert material from landfills within New Mexico’s smallest communities of 10,000 residents or less.  This will be accomplished through the establishment of reuse centers, backyard compost trainings, repair clinics and zero waste activities.

Representatives from government entities within rural communities that are interested in receiving this support, should contact Sarah Pierpont at the New Mexico Recycling Coalition at sarah@recyclenewmexico.com. To see a list of all eligible communities, click here.  As material is developed for this project it will be posted to this webpage for everyone to use and download.

Backyard Composting

Back yard compost trainings benefit rural communities by teaching residents how to keep their food scraps and yard debris out of the trash.  NMRC will provide attendees with the tools needed to set up their own household composting systems.  Rural New Mexicans will learn how to make their own valuable compost. Soils and gardens that are amended with organic compost, as created through back yard composting, do not require the application of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and use less water. Interested in learning HOW to create your own backyard compost using straw bales or a black compost bin and red wriggler worms and teaching your friends and neighbors how to do the same?  Register today!

NMRC hosted 27 virtual Backyard compost trainings in the spring of 2021 as part of our USDA Rural Utilities grant.  Preference for attendees was given to residents from eligible rural communities (populations less than 10,000). To find out if you are in an eligible community click HERE.  

If you missed a virtual training, you can still learn how to set up your own backyard compost system.  We invite you to watch the demonstration training video below and reach out to NMRC if you have any questions at sarah@recyclenewmexico.com or Juliana@recyclenewmexico.com.  Download a backyard compost outreach flyer HERE.

Fix It Clinics

Repair clinics, also known as “Fix-It” clinics, convey basic disassembly, troubleshooting, and repair skills using attendees’ own broken things as the vehicle. It is a free program that recruits volunteer “coaches” or individuals with experience repairing items (mechanical, electrical, bicycle, sewing, woodworking, etc) and pairs coaches with community members that bring in their broken items.  Coaches do not fix items for attendees, but work to teach them how to fix it themselves.   By sharing these skills while transferring them to others Fix-It Clinics teach critical thinking through the lens of our relationship to consumption and sustainability. The grant will establish four to five new “Fix-It” clinics throughout the state.

The 2021 Fix-It Clinics are ready!  Our next Fix It Clinics are May 20th (Santa Fe Count) and May 25th (Taos County).  To learn more and/or to register as a coach to help people fix their items or as an attendee with something that needs to be repaired click HERE.

Zero Waste Activities

Zero waste activities will strive to move solid waste departments and communities towards zero waste through planning, policy and community engagement. Zero waste, works to divert material from landfills and eliminate toxins.  Examples of a zero waste activity could include community events in which all discards are recycled and composted or eliminating single use items from the community.

The Zero Waste International Alliance defines Zero Waste as follows: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.

Learn more about zero waste in New Mexico by downloading flyers: What Is Zero Waste and How To Promote Zero Waste

Reuse Centers

Reuse centers are separate areas, co-located at staffed, trash drop-off sites, where residents can put items they no longer want and that still have a useful life. Other residents can pick up items free of charge.  Learn more about reuse centers in New Mexico HERE.

In August of 2021 the Eldorado Transfer Station, servicing the rural community of Edgewood in Santa Fe County, reopened its reuse center after an 18-month closure due to COVID-19 pandemic.