One of the things we can do to recharge our aquifer is to let rain water percolate into the soil by removing hard surfaces as Concrete and asphalt wherever possible. Both are recycled in much the same way. First the hard surface must be broken up. You might need to rent a jack hammer if a sledgehammer won’t do. Once the impervious surface is chunked, the rubble can be loaded into a pickup and taken to one of many sites in Albuquerque where you can recycle concrete and asphalt. The hard surface needs to be clean and without rebar. Some recyclers are free, so call around. The recyclers crush the asphalt to make a “road base” powder which is than mixed with fresh asphalt for paving. Concrete after crushing is repurposed by mixing with cement to make fresh concrete.
Now you can begin the process of rebuilding the compacted dirt into useable soil. Building Soil article gives you some ideas as to how to go about this.
Hazardous Waste disposal is located at 6137 Edith NE where you can drop off waste 8:30-4:30 M, W, F, and Saturday 8-3.They currently contract with Advanced Chem Transport who pickup at 17 different sites in the SW on their way back to San Jose, CA. They take things which will explode, corrode, are flammable, or poisonous to animals and people. But what happens to our hazardous waste when it leaves New Mexico for California?
The state of California has a Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) which promulgates rules for generators of waste, transporters, and disposal sites. The largest toxic waste site in the US is the 1,600 acre Kettleman Hills Landfill located in the San Joaquin Valley in the midst of poor farm workers’ towns. It is the only landfill which will dispose of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) which are highly carcinogenic compounds and now banned in US. People in the small town of Kettleman feel they have been impacted health-wise by this landfill and are fighting for more research on the number of birth defects in their community and against the installation of an incinerator on the site. Interestingly, some CA transporters are taking their waste to Utah and Arizona which have weaker landfill laws. Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t work. The bottom line is that toxic waste remains toxic. In our homes we can cut the use of toxice chemicals. Some examples would be to use sandpaper when refinishing wood or metal instead of chemicals and spraying liquid soap on plants to deter insects instead of pesticides..
Glass recycling takes more effort on our part. The City of Albuquerque lists10 sites across the city where glass may be dropped into a yellow recycle bin. The locations and hours change occasionally, so check the website first. Clear glass jars and bottles get repurposed by the current contractor in Texas, but window glass, colored glass, drinking glasses, and pyrex cannot be recycled as they have other materials in them.
e-Waste refers to electronic material that can be reused, refurbished or recycled at another location. This recycler takes computers, printers, Fax machines, stereo equipment, cell phones, cameras, etc. For a complete list, see the City of Albuquerque. By recycling these items you decrease Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury in the environment. These three heavy metals have been shown to have significant health effects on humans and animals. To recycle these items the drop off is at 6301 Eagle Rock NE near the intersection of I 25 and Alameda. They are open 8-5 seven days a week.
There is now a Styrofoam (Expanded Polystyrene-EPS) recycler in Albuquerque called the Foam Recycler at 6204 2nd NW, Unit D where you may drop off clean Styrofoam sheets, clean take out containers, and polyethylene. He then crushes and compresses to make it into blocks. EPS cannot be used again for food containers but is used for door frames, garden furniture, roofing tile, etc. He will also collect from industrial locations in the mid Rio Grande Counties.
Packing peanuts are not recyclable. If they are white or pink, wrap them in a bag and put them in the trash. If they are green, they are biodegradable and if not reusing, you may bury them.