County highlights need for better recycling

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Increases in future? > County could see fee increase

By Tris DeRoma

Los Alamos County residents could see an increase in waste recycling fees if residents businesses don’t get a better handle on their recycling habits.

Though county waste officials commended residents and businesses for being very conscientious when it comes to recycling, more needs to be done.

“Although Los Alamos County residents make a real effort to recycle right, our recycle material has 17 percent contamination,” Environmental Services Manager Angelica Gurule said.

Los Alamos Environmental Services define contamination as unrecyclable material being mixed in with recyclables.

Unrecyclable materials include glass, food waste, including cardboard with grease stains, brush, plastic bags, bagged recyclables, hoses and diapers.

Officials pointed to two related factors for the need to do better. One of those factors included China’s recent ban on recyclable streams containing more than 0.5 percent contamination. China imports roughly 50 percent of the world’s recyclables. Gurule said this is putting pressure on Los Alamos County’s recycling contractor, Friedman Recycling.

Friedman has had to hire additional employees to do a better job of sorting recyclables and has also had to slow its sorting lines to half.

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