City landfill swamped during holidays

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Christmas trees are recycled Tuesday at the Clovis landfill. Christmas tree are just a small part of a big increase in waste at area landfills this time of year.

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

Whether it is disposable aluminum pie pans, fruit cakes or ravaged gift wrapping and packing peanuts, household trash does accumulate over the holidays.

And this year there seems to be more of it staking up in Clovis and other areas.

“There was a definite increase in trash brought into the landfill,” said Steve Garcia, Logan landfill manager. “There was a definite increase when compared to previous weekends in the month.”

Garcia said he saw a one-ton escalation of waste brought into the landfill during the weekends after Christmas and New Year’s.

The Village of Logan does not have a village operated trash service, so many Logan area residents take their trash to the landfill.

“The volume of traffic coming into the landfill was substantially higher over the holiday weekends,” Garcia said.

Clovis also saw an increase. When compared to previous Fridays in December, the Clovis Landfill saw a 40-percent jump in city trash picked up on Jan. 2, said Joel Garcia, landfill superintendent.

Trash crews worked only half a day on Jan. 2 but brought in almost 132 tons of trash, Garcia said.

On two previous Fridays — Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 — trash collected by city crews averaged about 80 tons, Garcia said.

“It seemed like there was an increase in trash after New Year’s but that could be largely, in part, to the crews not working on the holiday,” Garcia said.

On Dec. 26, there were 26.86 tons brought in by city crews. They only worked a half day but they brought in less then what was collected on Jan. 2, Joel Garcia said.

Tucumcari also saw a an increase in the amount of trash brought in after the holiday, said Alex Madrid, Tucumcari landfill manager.

Madrid said their was nearly a 100 percent increase in trash collected on Dec. 26 compared to collections on Dec. 22.

“On Dec. 22 there was 34.14 tons collected and on Dec. 26 there was 64.51 tons collected,” Madrid said. “The trash tonnage collected on Jan. 2 was 24.23 tons, which is around the average trash collected on a Friday.”

While trash numbers may be up, Madrid say they don’t even come close to comparing with last year, when a winter snow storm stranded some 7,000 travelers in Tucumcari.

“I think there was not much of an increase because we did not have bad weather around the holidays like we have had in the past,” said Madrid. “Travelers were able to continue on their way and were not stuck in hotels due to the bad weather and closed roads.”