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Few Join Green Waste Program

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The recent warm weather has brought people into their yards with rakes and clippers, pulling up weeds and pruning trees and bushes.

But so far, it hasn’t inspired many people to sign up for a pilot program to have the green waste from such work picked up at their curbside for recycling into mulch.

“They’re trickling in slowly,” said Eva Rael, an assessment technician with the city of Santa Fe’s Environmental Services Division. So far, only about a dozen people have signed up, while more than 50 applications have been mailed out to potentially interested people, she said.

The city has been soliciting participants through ads for the last six to seven weeks, and fliers are being sent to area grocery stores to alert customers to the program, she said Thursday. “We’re looking for other ways to advertise the program,” she added.

A lot of people have been calling in with questions, according to Rael, who takes most of those calls at 955-2200. “But they don’t say whether they’re going to do it or not,” she added.

The Pilot Green Waste Recycling Program, as it’s formally called, requires 600 people signed up before it can launch. For $45 per year, participants will get a separate container with green waste that will be picked up on regular trash/recycling collection days every two weeks.

Green waste includes twigs, leaves, small branches and other compostable landscaping materials. No food waste will be accepted. That means waste from your vegetable garden – at least the kind of waste that would be considered food – shouldn’t be put out for recycling, Rael said. Put it in your own compost bin, she suggested.

Rather than going to the landfill as trash, the green waste would then be turned into compost or mulch, which people already pick up for their own use at the city’s Transfer Station, 2600 Buckman Road, or at the Wastewater Division across from the airport, at 73 Paseo Real, she said. The city’s Christmas tree collections and green waste from parks already contribute to that mulch pile.

Besides calling Rael, you can find out more about the program, including an application to participate, by going to www.santafenm.gov/index.aspx?nid=273.

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