Mark Moran of Las Campanas drops off his recycled glass at the Buckman Road Recycling & Transfer Station. Santa Fe has closed all drop-off recycling sites, as well as some trash drop-offs, during the outbreak.
The city of Santa Fe has announced the closure of all drop-off recycling sites and the suspension of bulky waste collection and drop-off trash services considered nonessential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes are due to concerns about sanitation and strained resources, city officials said.
The changes are effective Monday at all three of the city’s drop-off sites and the Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station. Drop-off of recyclable materials is considered nonessential and will be suspended at all sites. Hours at the Buckman station will be reduced to 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weekdays.
The new hours will not affect waste haulers.
Randall Kippenbrock, executive director of the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency, said people can make essential trips to the Buckman station for perishable waste that would rot, cause odor, attract pests or pose a health risk. He said people making drops at the facility need to maintain social distancing, pay with a credit card instead of cash and bring proof of county residency.
“Food waste, kitchen waste, toiletries, soiled diapers and household waste generated from within the home” are allowed to be dropped at the station, he said Sunday. “This does not include trash from cleanups of garages and backyards and remodeling projects.”
All bulky waste collections, including furniture and yard refuse, will be suspended after Tuesday. Pickups scheduled Tuesday will still occur.
City Environmental Services Director Shirlene Sitton said residential waste in Santa Fe has increased by 30 percent since the middle of March, and the department needs to focus on collecting waste that will affect public health and safety — including kitchen waste and personal protective equipment, such as gloves and face masks.
“It seems that people who are staying at home are using the opportunity to clean out their houses and garages, do those remodeling projects, and clear brush in their yards,” she said.
Sitton said it’s impossible to clean high-touch surfaces at the drop-off sites, which could pose risks for city workers.
Glass will not be accepted in curbside recycling during the drop-off site closures.
“Either hold on to your glass until we can open drop-off sites. Or, you can throw it away knowing it won’t release methane or other pollutants as it deteriorates,” she said.
Sitton said she is concerned about illegal dumping at the waste sites while they’re closed, a problem she said already stretches the department’s resources.
“We know people are going to feel inconvenienced that the sites are closed, but please don’t let that escalate into doing something illegal like dumping,” she said.