Public Works Director Philo Shelton and Environmental Services Office Specialist Tiffany Pegoda present a report on the new yard trimming collection program to the Environmental Sustainability Board. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
The schedule for yard and recycling collections may only be a few weeks old but it is already a success, the Environmental Sustainability Board learned during its regular meeting July 19 in Council Chambers.
During the meeting, Public Works Director Philo Shelton reported one truck load was diverted from the landfill.
“I think … it was successful. We diverted an entire truck load from going to the landfill. We met our goal in the first week,” Shelton said.
According to agenda documents, the new yard trimming program began July 9. In the first week, 17.04 tons of yard waste were collected.
The program came with new tan-colored 96-gallon carts to collect organic yard trimmings including branches that do not exceed 36-inches in length or 4-inches in diameter. Other accepted items are flowers, grass clippings, leaves, pine needles and pine cones.
To operate the program and manage the additional brush material collected, a new equipment operator was hired and a collection truck purchased.
The yard trimming collection will alternate with the recycle collection schedule. Meaning, one week recycle bins is collected and the following week the yard trimming carts is collected. Residents may request a larger or additional recycle roll cart at no additional cost to accommodate the alternating schedule. The schedules can be found at https://www.losalamosnm.us/cms/one.aspx?pageId=6733171.
Office Specialist Tiffany Pegoda said 2,500 carts have been distributed to households. The next load of yard trimming carts is scheduled to arrive in late August Pegoda said.
According to agenda documents, the Environmental Services Division has received requests for an additional 700 yard trimming roll carts. The carts will be paid for through a Recycling and Illegal Dumping (RAID) grant the County received from the New Mexico Environment Department’s Solid Waste Bureau.
When asked about the concern that since recycling is not picked up weekly, residents will simply toss what they would have placed in the recycle bin in the trash, Pegoda said she wasn’t worried about it because putting the yard waste in the new roll cart is a form of recycling.
Board member Heidi Rogers said people have approached her with concerns about the program but after learning about the program, she said people have given her positive feedback.
“They are really enthusiastic,” she said.
Chair James Robinson said this program has been a longtime coming but he feels it will pay off.
“This has been discussion for many years. I want to thank everyone for the hard work put into it … I think Los Alamos is prime to become an example for how diversion techniques work,” Robinson said.
Environmental Sustainability Board Member Sue Barns listens to the report on the new yard trimming collection program. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com