Helping Santa Fe Rethink Their Waste
Despite the many names (waste, refuse, garbage, litter, junk), there is only one place that trash ends up: the landfill. Whether you put it in your curbside can, toss it at the convenience center, or illegally dump it, trash will be buried in the ground forever unless it’s reused, recycled, or composted.

You can recycle your phone books at any of the following drop off bin locations:
County Transfer Stations >

HOURS: 8:00 a. m. - 4:45 p. m. Monday - Sunday

HOURS: 7:00 a. m. - 5:00 p. m. Monday - Saturday

What is Trash?

Trash is any object that is unusable or unwanted.  It should really be considered “waste” since many contents of a trash bin are compostable, reusable, or recyclable and end up wasted in a landfill.  There are many items that make it to our landfill that could have been given a second chance, yet there are also many items that cannot be recycled or composted because their material composition.

Objects that have multiple materials combined (wax cartons, juice boxes, paper drinking/coffee cups, ATM and other waxy receipts) are made out of layer of plastic, paper, and sometimes metal.  These materials are too difficult for recycling facilities to separate and therefore rendered trash.

Other items that are food soiled (paper plates, greasy pizza boxes, tissues, and paper towels) are considered trash in Santa Fe because there is no commercial compost facility available.  These items cannot be recycled when contaminated with food due to the rotting capabilities of the paper.  Visit the paper section to see which items can be recycled and stay out of the trash.  Or visit the Backyard Composting section to see how you can compost these items in your backyard.

Many plastic items also must be thrown away in Santa Fe.  BuRRT can only accept #1&2 plastic bottles, jars, and jugs because of the marketability of the plastic and the capability of the facility. All other plastics are trash.  To-go containers or clamshells are not accepted even if they are #1 or 2 plastic because those items are also made out of #3-7 plastic and compostable “plastic” and it is too difficult to differentiate the #1 & 2 plastic from #3-7 plastic.  Visit the plastic section to see which items can be recycled and which are trash.

What happens to trash?

Trash is never sorted in Santa Fe.  Instead it is taken from residences and businesses to the Caja del Rio Landfill by City trash compactors or County transfer trailers.  Once the trash arrives, it is immediately dumped into the area of the landfill cell that is being filled that day.  A bulldozer then spreads out the trash while the compactor follows behind to compact the waste by rolling over it again and again.  After the area is compacted, 6 inches of dirt is spread over the trash to protect it from the elements.  In less than a month, that same area will have another layer of trash built on top of it, and the cycle continues.

See the anatomy of the landfill



Visit our new webpage to learn more about the Caja del Rio Landfill Permit Renewal and Modification Project!