Waste Reduction through Sustainable Materials Management in Rural New Mexico
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 email@example.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.
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 is excited to host virtual Backyard compost trainings as part of our USDA Rural Utilities grant. Preference for attendees will be given to residents from eligible rural communities (populations less than 10,000). To find out if you are in an eligible community click HERE. Currently, the dates and times available are as follows:
- Wednesday, May 19th from 10:00 - 11:00 am
- Thursday, May 20th from noon - 1:00 pm
Registration is required and numbers are limited, so register today HERE. If these dates and times do not work for you, we will try to host one or two more trainings in June. Check back soon!
Attendees of this online training and demonstration will receive one Continuing Education Unit (CEU) with the NM Environment Department: Solid Waste Bureau for any certified recycling, compost, landfill or transfer station operators.
We will host these trainings via Zoom. You will need a tablet, computer or laptop with a video and Internet connection. We have a limited number of backyard starter kits available for training attendees. These include either a black plastic compost bin or 6 straw bales and red wriggler worms. COVID may make the distribution of these items difficult, but we will do our best to get them to you (our original plan was to host in-person trainings and distribute items then, but alas we are switching to virtual). Individuals must attend the virtual training to receive a starter kit and supplies are limited.
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.
Funding also includes resources to establish three, new rural reuse center. 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.