Recycling takes center stage

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Each year, like a national holiday, America Recycles Day comes around to remind people about the importance of recycling. New Mexico has seen continued growth of recycling programs with new or expanded programs taking off this past year in Los Alamos County, San Miguel County, Las Vegas, Raton, Angel Fire, Taos County, San Juan County, Torrance County, Deming, Cibola County, Otero County, Cloudcroft, Tularosa, Chaparral and Truth or Consequences.
In Los Alamos County, a glass drop-off recycling program was established. This program began at the end of September and has seen great participation from residents. The program is estimated to help keep more than 100 tons of glass out of the landfill every year, which will benefit the environment and reduce costs.  
Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on Nov. 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. More than a celebration, America Recycles Day is the only nationally-recognized day and community-driven national awareness initiative dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. America Recycles Day is a program of Keep America Beautiful. Last year, 2 million people celebrated recycling at more than 2,000 events across the nation on America Recycles Day.   
The nonprofit organization As You Sow estimates that the value of discarded packaging in the U.S. is worth 11.4 billion dollars. Recycling 75 percent of the nation’s waste will create nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the Tellus Institute.
New Mexico communities have hosted more than 800 awareness events since 1998 including recycling drives and collection events, friendly competitions, trainings, incentives-based “Get Caught Recycling” programs, tours, demonstrations, school activities and more. This year, New Mexico will play host to more than 30 events around the state during the month of November.
There will also be several events in relation to a newly created Business Recycling Recognition program developed by a partnership between the NM Recycling Coalition, the NM Green Chamber of Commerce, NMSU Institute for Energy and the Environment and the NM Environment Department Green Zia Environmental Leadership Program.
Local events recognizing businesses nominated for their reduction, reuse and recycling practices will take place around America Recycles Day in Taos, Silver City, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. For details on these events, visit nmgreenchamber.com
“America Recycles Day gives us all an opportunity to take a look at how we are reducing, reusing and recycling. Make an additional effort Nov. 15 to put new habits into place, such as making smart purchasing practices with recycled-content products and looking for products with recyclable packaging,” said English Bird, executive director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition.