Correction appended

The Town of Taos Council voted unanimously Tuesday night (Nov. 23) to reopen the recycling center on Bertha Street as part of an “eight-point intermediate and long-term plan for sustainable, community wide recycling."

After the center was shut by the Taos Regional Landfill Board on Sept. 10, it seemed as if the town, which owns the property, was intent on keeping the center closed for good. Town Manager Rick Bellis cited the low diversion rate of just 7.6 percent as reason to keep the center closed, along with the financial burden of keeping it going.

Bellis had stated in a previous email that the town had no intention of reopening the center, and he recommended to council that it be used for storage.

The town management appears to have changed direction since then, deciding to to reopen the recycling center in their expanded eight-point plan.

Along with reopening the center, the plan includes an outline that supports the national Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act; a goal for additional state-level plastic and recycling regulations; continued “green waste” recycling at the landfill (refrigerators, washing machines, tires, etc.); incentivizing the private recycling sector; creating a regional community recycling board; regulating single-use disposables; and focusing on public education.

In order to fund the re-opening of the center, the town plans to use approximately six to seven months of reserves of the former 75-cent recycling fee.

Currently, the recycling center is looking a January reopening. Because of the upcoming holiday season and the amount of time it takes to train individuals to run the center, Bellis said the goal is to be open by early January. The program, funded through the town, will extend through June 30, 2022.

In terms of what items will be accepted, Bellis said “at this point our recommendation is to reopen the center as it closed, starting with just cardboard and letting the market dictate whatever we can get rid of and collect and move.”

Going forward, Bellis said the 75-cent fee would be waived, and recycling would be free for all individuals. He did mention, however, that they would charge a fee for for-profit recyclers who provide curbside service then bring their loads to the center.

This is a developing story. Look for an extended version in next week’s paper.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the recycling center was set to reopen on June 30, 2022. It will reopen "in early January," according to Town Manager Rick Bellis, and be funded through June 30.

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(4) comments

Andrew Gonzales

Must be an election year! Depending on the outcome it'll be closed again by March 7th!

jonathan hutchison

Am I missing something? The story states that the center was initially closed due to a "low diversion rate" (there was no market for our recyclables). But the re-opened center will accept only one item previously recycled there. All other recyclables are pending as we let "the market dictate whatever we can get rid of and collect and move.” Wasn't that what led to the the center closing in the first place? Recycling is not a question of perceived economic viability. It's a civic responsibility of a society whose wasteful consumption places such a heavy burden on the planet and threatens to bury us in detritus.

Buff Brewster

I agree that recycling is a civic responsibility. A) we need to press our groceries and Walmart to not stock items in plaxtic: I recycle dozens of the plastic boxes the groceries use for fruit, desserts, and the like every month.

B) It's time to forget the mentality that recyclng should be free. We may not like it, but nothing in life is free & providing recycling requires funding locations equipment & staff. Why not simply add a recyclng fee should simply be added to our landfill fees.

Keith Palmer

Will the city also bring back the Free Box?

That was one of the things that made Taos unique. Why should we be like everywhere else with no Free Boxes.

C'mon Taos, think outside the box, literally.

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