By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 4/19/20
Las Cruces eateries and groceries have moved to curbside pickup to accommodate social distancing during the Coronavirus crisis. So, when seating areas are closed and To Go or home delivery is the only option, how can restaurants incorporate sustainability and recycling into packaged deliveries? And how do consumers know what is and isn’t recyclable?
“Jeremy Walters, sustainability ambassador for Republic Services, recently shared a few tips with South Central Solid Waste Authority that we believe are useful for our community,” said Patrick Peck, director of SCSWA. “Now is the time to be even more mindful of what can and can’t be recycled. Non-recyclable items placed in recycling bins end up in landfills. But it requires recycling staff to pull them back out of the recycling stream, wasting a lot of time and energy. It’s more important now than ever that residents and businesses “Know what to throw New Mexico!”
Package Deliveries: The only thing recyclable from most packages is the cardboard box itself. Food deliveries come with a lot of bubble wrap, plastic air bags, cellophane wrapping and foam peanuts to keep items safe during transport, but none of these materials can go into the blue recycling bin.
Pizza Boxes: While pizza boxes are made of recycled cardboard, once that box is soiled with pizza cheese and grease, it’s trash. Only clean cardboard can be made into new paper, and that dirty pizza box creates problems when placed in recycling bins because it can contaminate clean recyclables.
Plastic Bags: Not recyclable. Do not bag your recyclables and do not place plastic bags in your recyclables. Do bag your trash and do return plastic bags to grocery stores that accept them.
Paper Plates and Napkins: Like pizza boxes, used paper plates and napkins are not recyclable. They go in the trash.
Aluminum Cans: Beer, soda, seltzers… all cans are recyclable. Aluminum is forever recyclable and provides unrivaled benefits for sustainability. Rinse them first, as sugary drink or food residue can soil other recyclables like cardboard and paper.
The South Central Solid Waste Authority can be reached at 575-528-3800 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The SCSWA provides solid waste and recycling services to Las Cruces and Dona Ana County residents and businesses. More information at www.SCSWA.net.
PHOTO 1: Touchless grocery shopping: a Walmart employee does the shopping and delivers groceries right to a customer’s vehicle. Please return those plastic bags to Walmart – not your blue recycling bin.