Access to Recycling in Rural Areas

Written by Beth Pacheco, ESLLC 2017-2018

Growing up in New Mexico was an amazing experience from a sustainability stand point. We have lost of natural resources and untouched land however there a few gaps in New Mexico’s sustainability. Coming from such a unique place you grow to appreciate mountains that few have seen, and paths even fewer have walked on. However, the state of New Mexico struggles when it comes to one main factor of sustainability. Recycling is one of the biggest issues New Mexico does not address. There are many small towns in New Mexico where there is little to no access to recycling one of them is my hometown, Taos.

Picture1.pngThe town of Taos recycles 1,200 to 1,300 pounds of material a year. This may seem like a large number however Taos creates 27,249 pounds of waste per year. Out of this waste 3,475 pounds could have been diverted. This means that all that waste could have been kept out of landfills. There are many reasons for this, however one is access to recycling. There are not many places that recycle in Taos, there is only one “recycling center.” Some of the local businesses recycle however they then take it to the recycling center.

In Taos, there is no recycling pick up, so those who want to recycle must take it to the place themselves. For the elderly or disabled this can be very difficult. It is also hard for people who do not have motor vehicles. The recycling center in Taos has very limited hours, and only takes number two plastic. There is waste that can be recycled just hours away, however no one is willing to take it that far, so it simply ends up in landfills.

Picture1There is a lot to be done to help our Earth and recycling our resources is a very valid way of helping out. Coming up with better systems can help to reduce our environmental impact and create new jobs in sustainable industries. I hope to see a shift in the next few years of people shifting to a more sustainable way of living.



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