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Committee Left in Dark on Recycling Study

August 5, 2014, 12:00 am

The head of Santa Fe’s Environmental Services Division told an advisory committee last Thursday that he’s received the final version of an independent solid waste study contracted by the city. Yet he didn’t bring the report to a publicized meeting.

The Solid Waste Advisory Committee is supposed to increase awareness and effectiveness of solid waste and recycling in Santa Fe, but it has delayed meetings for about a year pending the outcome of reviews by the consulting firm NewGen Strategies.

It looks like the delay isn’t over yet.

Lawrence Garcia, acting director of the city’s Environmental Services Division, told members he didn’t bring the city’s version of the report to the meeting because he wanted city councilors to review it first. The advisory committee agenda called for a presentation of consultant reports to both Santa Fe County and the city. County officials presented NewGen’s findings and fielded questions about the county’s intent to put out a bid that would have private haulers competing to contract with the county to provide waste and recycling pickup.

A draft of the city’s report shows consultants are recommending the city move to single-stream curbside pickup rather than its current two-bin system, a move that could call for increased fees and capital investments.

City and county officials expected the consultant reports to provide information they need to shape waste policies. The region could stand to drive up its dismal recycling rate, which is well below both state and national rates. Garcia says findings of the city’s version of the report will be presented to City Council committees but couldn’t say when.


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