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.