Science club takes recycling lead

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The science club at Tucumcari High School hopes to turn its school green.
It’s not a chemistry experiment, but a recycling project.
“Right now, we’ve started as a high school. We want students to get concerned, then they can tell their parents and friends that the high school is doing something. Then they can spread the word about recycling. Someone has to start the movement,” said club member Caitlyn Romero.
Thousands of acres devoted to trash could have a more beneficial use, said Georgia Scalf, a club member.
By 2050, all the landfills will be full, said Danny Price, another club member.
The most obvious sign of the club’s fledgling movement is a large trailer from TAL Trash Service that arrived Tuesday at the school’s parking lot. It has several compartments and each is designated for a different recyclable from paper to plastic bottles.
The club’s initiative began last year said Christina Fleming, science teacher and co-sponsor of the club.
Students researched outlets in Tucumcari where recycables can be taken.
“We found a store that will take corrugated boxes,” Fleming said.
There’s also a statewide program sponsored by Walmart that gives schools $5 for every box filled with plastic bags used by retailers and grocery stores, Fleming said. Any funds generated from recycling will go back into the project.
The club’s goal is to have 25 bins, one for each classroom at the high school, where recyclables can be collected.
“We’d like to have them all alike and we’re looking for a donor who would give us the bins,” Fleming said.
The city applauds the student�s recycling and the club�s plans to spread the word about the benefits of recycling, said Yvette Fazekas of the city�s Community Development Department.
�They�re on the right track. We want to divert as much waste as we can from our new landfill.�
The city plans to seek a grant from the state to purchase recycling bins that can be placed throughout the city, Fazekas said.
In addition, yard waste can be kept out of the landfill because it can be chipped and cut to provide mulch for the city�s parks and recreation areas, Fazekas
Other trash, such as white goods, which includes refrigerators, washing machines and the like, can also be diverted from the landfill with special pick-ups, Fazekas said.
Rural communities often have difficulties in recycling, but it can be done, said English Bird, executive director of the New Mexico recycling Coalition based in Albuquerque.
Challenges to overcome include having enough of each recyclable product and a place to store them so that it is advantageous for a recycler to pick up and/or purchase the goods, Bird said.
Communities must weigh the operation costs now and in the future of landfills against the costs of recycling, Bird said.