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County Yard Trimming Collection Program Garners 2018 Diversion Project Of The Year Award

on October 11, 2018 - 8:31am
Environmental Services Division Manager Angelica Gurule, second from left, Los Alamos County's Armando Gabaldon, left, and Public Works Department Director Philo Shelton accept the New Mexico Recycling and Solid Waste Diversion Project of the Year award. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Daily Post

It may new but Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division yard trimming collection program has already grabbed the state’s attention and praise.

The program recently earned the Environmental Services Division 2018 New Mexico Recycling and Solid Waste Award. More specifically, it garnered Diversion Project of the Year.

The award was presented in September by the New Mexico Recycling Coalition and the Solid Waste Association of North America New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter.
“I’m excited,” Environmental Services Division Manager Angelica Gurule said. “I’m happy. I think Los Alamos is a leader for recycling in the state and I think this program is just another example of our community’s efforts to be environmentally friendly.”

The yard trimming collection program started in July. Residents can request a tan-colored 96-gallon roll cart to put yard trimmings in. When the material is collected, it is composted or turned into mulch, which is available to residents free of charge for their landscaping. Things that can be tossed into the roll carts include small branches, flowers, grass clippings, leaves, pine needles and pine cones.

The collection schedule alternates weekly between yard trimming material and mixed recycling. Meaning, one week the yard material is collected and tbe next week mixed recycling will be picked up. To view the collection schedule, see

Although the program was initiated just a few of months ago, Gurule said more than 200 tons of waste has been diverted from the landfill. ­­

Plus, right now participation is at 47 percent. Although it is a low percentage, Gurule said there is a wait list to receive a cart and people sign up everyday. To register for a yard waste roll cart, visit

The carts were purchased through a Recycling and Illegal Dumping (RAID) grant the County received from the New Mexico Environment Department’s Solid Waste Bureau.

A new delivery of carts was made to the County two weeks ago. As a result, an additional 624 carts are now available to residents. Gurule attributes the program’s success to the community.

“Residents are doing a great job … they’re just doing a great job using the carts for yard trimmings,” she said.

She added the program never would have happened without the community’s support.

The program may be new but it was two years in the making.
“We really invested a lot of time and energy on the data that supported it,” Gurule said.

Besides data analysis she said a lot of community outreach was conducted on the program. In fact, it was the community that selected the tan colored carts. Gurule said the program is a benefit to the County.

“I think this is just another step in the right direction for the County,” she said.
She pointed out that world-wide, recycling is in a state of turmoil due to China implementing a ban on 24 types of recycle materials.

The country is banning recyclables containing more than 0.5 percent contamination. This is a reduction from the previous standard of 3 percent to 5 percent contamination allowed per bale of material.

So, to create a local market for recyclable material and manage recycling within the County is invaluable, Gurule said.