That means the program is "in the black," just not generating much revenue, said Jill Holbert, Albuquerque's director of solid waste management.
said, it's a huge improvement over a few years ago, when the city subsidized the processing of recyclables with about $1.2 million a year.
The sharp increase in the amount of material residents are recycling has Holbert
encouraged about the future prospects for making money, she
"It's actually been incredible, the response to getting the blue carts," Holbert
said in an interview.
"We're really happy about that."
The city picked up more than 31,000 tons in the fiscal year that ended over the summer, up from 18,000 the previous year.
The city rolled out blue bins to most customers those years.
Recycling was less frequent before that, when people had to bundle up the material on their own before putting it on the curb.
Still, the city hopes to encourage even more people to recycle, Holbert
About 60 to 80 percent of households now put out their blue bins at least once a month, according to city estimates.
And for those who recycle regularly already, Holbert
said, the city hopes they will start putting even more in the bins.
Some people aren't aware of how many different materials can be accepted in the blue bins, including soft- and hard-bound books, cellphones and digital cameras, most plastics and even pet-food cans, she
There's "a learning curve for residents to recycle all the things" now accepted, Holbert
"We knew there were going to be some growing pains at the beginning of the program."
There are a few things, of course, that the city doesn't want in the blue bins.
Pizza boxes, plastic grocery bags, glass of any kind, Styrofoam and yard waste shouldn't go in the bins.
It's difficult to say precisely what percentage of the city's waste is now recycled, Holbert