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City recycling up, but tons still ending up in landfill

Created: 02/26/2014 9:31 AM
By: Stuart Dyson and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Since the blue barrels were passed out around Albuquerque last fall, city officials say recycling is up 65 percent.

But 300,000 tons of trash still gets buried in the city landfill every year, and there are plenty of recyclables going in there—stuff that could be diverted, as they say in the industry.

"When we first began the program, we were getting about a five percent diversion rate and our last number we were looking at around 11 percent diversion rate, so we've already doubled in the two or three months since everybody's received their cart. We're definitely headed in the right direction," said Bobby Sisneros, spokesman for Keep ABQ Beautiful.

Recycling slows down in the late winter, but when the weather warms up, Friedman Recycling officials say it picks up again thanks to more containers like beer, soda pop and water.

"The goal is 100 percent diversion," said Robert Taylor with Friedman Recycling. "It would be ideal if we didn't need a landfill, but obviously we're a long way from there. We continue—we don't just sit back and get complacent where we're at. We're always looking for bigger and better ways of doing it."

Students in Ms. Herrera's fifth grade class at North Star Elementary are showing the way, winning first prize in an aluminum can recycling drive. Kids from 18 schools collected almost a ton of them, getting a firsthand look at American consumer habits.

"It was a lot of beer cans, but there was a lot of soda cans as well," student Paul Harrison said.


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