It’s been 33 years since there were updates to Chapter 25 of the City of Las Cruces Municipal Code. It’s the chapter on solid waste, defining the management of the city’s trash. While you may think, how much can trash change since 1988, Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) has certainly grown right alongside the city and, most importantly, has integrated technology that residents may take for granted. However, those changes had never been defined in the actual codes.
“For example, Solid Waste transitioned to operating fully automated collection vehicles for both residential and commercial containers,” said LCU Interim Deputy Director Solid Waste Rosa Montoya. “This affects the placement and type of containers required and how these containers are serviced, which was not reflected in the current municipal code.”
The code now specifies that trucks are hydraulically operated and have an arm to retrieve the bins. Changes to the code clarify situations for residents, such as how a driver cannot get out to take things set next to the container and anything that might hinder the pickup around the container, leading to the driver needing to skip that pickup.
Montoya also explained that definitions were updated to include things like illegal dumping and food waste. From the updated code:
- Illegal dumping refers to the placement of waste in any area not designated for waste collection to include arroyos, occupied lots, abandoned or vacant lots, and shall include persons placing any of their own solid waste with that of any other persons residential property, or business establishment, without authorization, for the purpose of avoiding payment of solid waste fees or for the purpose of evading any regulation or limitation on solid waste management.
- Food waste refers to food, such as plate waste, (i.e., food that has been served but not eaten), food preparation waste (i.e., preparation trimmings), spoiled food, or peels and rinds considered inedible to be composted or anaerobically digested or to be landfilled or combusted with energy recovery.
“We changed the municipal code's food waste language to ensure we have opportunities available for usable food waste collections,” explained LCU Director Delilah Walsh. “While we won’t have a food waste program in the City’s Solid Waste line of business specifically, we want to open doors for a local circular economy so that local business owners can step up and create solutions.”
Walsh said, “Innovators could use our city's waste to create jobs which could divert waste that ends up in the landfill; we want to help support that.”
LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: LCU updated its municipal codes to include modern technology and give opportunities for local businesses to create innovative recycling solutions.