Twenty Ways to Conserve Water

Whether you’re ready to cut back on your showers or replace your lawn with water-wise plants, there are lots of big and small ways that you can conserve water around the home. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything on this list. Just pick a few things to start with, and do more as you can. Even a few small changes can add up to hundreds of gallons in water savings each year! Here are 20 water-saving tips to get you going…

1. Shower Bucket. Instead of letting the water pour down the drain, stick a bucket under the faucet while you wait for your shower water to heat up. You can use the water for flushing the toilet or watering your plants.

2. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Water comes out of the average faucet at 2.5 gallons per minute. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.

3. Turn off the tap while washing your hands. Do you need the water to run while you’re scrubbing your hands? Save a few gallons of water and turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.

4. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. This tip might not be for everyone, but the toilet is one of the most water-intensive fixtures in the house. Do you need to flush every time?

5. Fix your leaks. Whether you go DIY or hire a plumber, fixing leaky faucets can mean big water savings.

6. Re-use your pasta cooking liquid. Instead of dumping that water down the drain, try draining your pasta water into a large pot. Once it cools, you can use it to water your plants. Just make sure you wait, because if you dump that boiling water on your plants, you might harm them.

7. Head to the car wash. If you feel compelled to wash your car, take it to a car wash that recycles the water, rather than washing at home with the hose.

8. Cut your showers short. Older shower heads can use as much as 5 gallons of water per minute. Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings.

9. Choose efficient fixtures. Aerating your faucets, investing in a low-flow toilet, choosing efficient shower heads, and opting for a Water Sense rated dishwasher and washing machine can add up to big water savings.

10. Shrink your lawn. Even better: lose the lawn completely. Instead, opt for a xeriscaped landscape that incorporates water wise ground cover, succulents, and other plants that thrive in drought conditions.

11. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s full. Those half-loads add up to gallons and gallons of wasted water.

12. Keep an eye on your bill to spot leaks. If your water bill spikes suddenly, there’s a good chance that a leak is the culprit. Call in a plumber to check your lines to save water and cash!

13. Install a rain barrel. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to keep your plants hydrated without turning on the hose or sprinkler.

14. Flush with less. Older toilets use a lot of water. You can reduce your usage by sinking a half gallon jug of water in the toilet tank. Do NOT use a brick, because it will break down and the sediment can damage your tank.

15. Water outdoor plants in the early morning. You’ll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean losing less water to evaporation. It’s not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mold growth.


16. Hand-washing a lot of dishes? Fill up your sink with water, instead of letting it run the whole time that you’re scrubbing.

17. Use less electricity. Power plants use thousands of gallons of water to cool. Do your part to conserve power, and you’re indirectly saving water, too!

18. Wash Fido outdoors. That way, you’re watering your yard while you’re cleaning your pup. Just make sure that the soap you’re using isn’t harmful to your plants!

19. Skip the shower from time to time. Do you really need to shower multiple times a day or even daily? Skipping even one shower a week adds up to big water savings.

20. Re-use grey water. Check to make sure that this is legal where you live, but in some areas you can do things like re-route the runoff from your clothes washer and use that water for things like flushing the toilet.


Living in a Desert Forest — Conserving Water


Water conservation in the home…

1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.

2. Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.

3. Check your toilets for leaks
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.

4. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks
Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

5. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. “Low-flow” means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
You can easily install a ShowerStart showerhead, or add a ShowerStart converter to existing showerheads, which automatically pauses a running shower once it gets warm.
Also, all household faucets should be fit with aerators. This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest!

6. Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank
To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive tank bank or float booster. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day.

Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. If there is not enough water to get a proper flush, users will hold the lever down too long or do multiple flushes to get rid of waste. Two flushings at 1.4 gallons is worse than a single 2.0 gallon flush. A better suggestion would be to buy an adjustable toilet flapper that allow for adjustment of their per flush use.  Then the user can adjust the flush rate to the minimum per flush setting that achieves a single good flush each time.

For new installations, consider buying “low flush” toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5 gallons.

Replacing an 18 liter per flush toilet with an ultra-low volume (ULV) 6 liter flush model represents a 70% savings in water flushed and will cut indoor water use by about 30%.

7. Insulate your water pipes.
It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

8. Take shorter showers.
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.

9. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.

10. Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.

11. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recomend not pre-rinsing dishes which is a big water savings.
With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters (5 gallons) for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. New Energy Star rated washers use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer.

12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink ‘garburators’ require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.

13. When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing
If your have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water. Dual-swivel aerators are available to make this easier. If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.

14. Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables
Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water. Use a dual-setting aerator.

15. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe drinking bottle. If you are filling water bottles to bring along on outdoor hikes, consider buying a LifeStraw personal water filter which enables users to drink water safely from rivers or lakes or any available body of water.

Water conservation in the yard and garden…

16. Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
If you are planting a new lawn, or overseeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses such as the new “Eco-Lawn”.
Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species. Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases. Consider applying the principles of xeriscape for a low-maintenance, drought resistant yard.
Plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff.
Group plants according to their watering needs.

17. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 – 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the dripline of each plant to form a slight depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff.
For information about different mulch materials and their best use, click here.

18. Don’t water the gutter
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.

19. Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3″) will also promote water retention in the soil.
Most lawns only need about 1″ of water each week. During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and the lawn will go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual vigor. This may result in a brown summer lawn, but it saves a lot of water.

20. Deep-soak your lawn
When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn – when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount. Visit our natural lawn care page for more information.

21. Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it’s windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defence against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it’s windy – wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.

22. Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns
Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be ‘top dressed’ with compost or organic matter.
You can greatly reduce the amount of water used for shrubs, beds and lawns by:
– the strategic placement of soaker hoses
– installing a rain barrel water catchment system
– installing a simple drip-irrigation system
Avoid over-watering plants and shrubs, as this can actually diminish plant health and cause yellowing of the leaves.
When hand watering, use a variable spray nozzle for targeted watering.

23. Don’t run the hose while washing your car
Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing – this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water. Better yet, use a waterless car washing system; there are several brands, such as EcoTouch, which are now on the market.

24. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks

25. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings
Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they’re not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.

Proposals seek to make Red River green(er)

From the Sangre Chronicle — The Village of Red River and the Taos Regional Landfill struggle with the cost offsets between subsidized recycling and a 2 MM$ landfill cell fast approaching. In the current economic climate, communities are focused mostly on cost and less on recycling and other programs like free tipping for tires, mulching, composting. But current recycling rates will save $254K by putting off the new landfill project.

Fix a Leak Week — Really

March 26th: As we’re pummeled with wind mixed in with enough snow to get your glasses wet — and it looks like it will continue like this for another 7 days — we realize that the rest of the nation works on a different schedule. It’s the official last day of Fix a Leak Week, March 20 – 26th.   It may be a little unseasonable for us to worry about dripping faucets, but when the time comes we can all do our part.

The statistics are huge — a trillian gallons wasted a year across the nation. For us here in Angel Fire, we get our water from very expensive wells and more expensive water rights we purchase. Let’s all do our part and help the Village find those subterranean leaks. If you find a damp roadway, a soggy pothole, a ditch filling up with water, please report it.



Exchange old but useful items — my Freecycle organization


my Freecycle is a charity that connects new owners with older objects belonging to nearby community members. With 5000+ locations and nearly 10 million members, Freecycle has enough “scale ” to make a difference, one gift at a time. What’s even better — there is an Albuquerque branch. So many of us come and go to ABQ weekly that this may be the reuse organization for you.

American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why

Article from the Washington Post shows that Angel Fire is not the only community struggling to keep Recycling up in the air.

Major reasons? “A storm of falling oil prices, a strong dollar and a weakened economy in China have sent prices for American recyclables plummeting worldwide.”

But it IS possible that the key players are overstating what is basically a cyclical slump. And the big blue bin? The article is referring to cities who separate the waste streams rather than asking the citizens to do so — Angel Fire’s model, though beset by contamination, is to ask our stakeholders to separate everything into the correct recycle dumpster/trailer.

Time to Change Your Showerheads? 2900 gallons a year per family


Showering is one of the leading ways we use water in the home, accounting for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use—for the average family, that adds up to nearly 40 gallons per day. You can save enough hot water heater energy to power your house for 13 days! Look for hundreds of WaterSense Products here that will make a difference, for the family, for the village, for the state.

TODAY: Spare Parts Art — Recycling into Art – September 4th

Spare Part Art Flyer 2016 (2) (1)

Recycling old junk not only benefits the environment, it breathes new life into old objects that were once destined for the landfill. The 2nd Annual Spare Part Art Silent Auction Fundraiser is set for Sunday (Sept. 4) from 10 a.m. to – 1 p.m. Admission is free but proceeds from the silent auction will help fund public art projects in and around the Village of Angel Fire.

We have changed the date, time and location of this years event so we can partner with the Art + Farmer’s Market. The event has been moved to Sunday September 4, at Frontier Plaza from 10 am – 1 pm.

If you are donating art again this year, we ask that you drop it off at the Chamber on or before Friday September 2. This allows us time to catalog the item(s) and create bid sheets. However, if you need a little more time to finish your creation, don’t worry. We will take donations the day of the event.

As I believe everyone knows the proceeds received by the Sustainability Committee go to commissioning public art made from recycled materials. Brice Adams was commissioned from last years raised monies. We hope this piece will be on display at the event. It is a very over sized (approximately 20′) mountain bike coming out of the ground and is VERY COOL!

We appreciate the time and art you are creating to make this event a success and bringing public art to our lovely Village. This could not happen without you!!!


Taos Recycling


The Taos Recycling Center accepts the following items for recycling: (items in red are NOT taken in Angel Fire)

  • Aluminum Cans (Angel Fire takes cans and aluminum foil)
  • Steel Cans
  • Newspaper (Angel Fire Takes Mixed Paper)
  • White Paper and shredded paper (Angel Fire Takes Mixed Paper)
  • Phone books
  • Corrugated Cardboard or brown paper bags
  • Glass
  • E-Waste – Computer only
  • Clean and Dry #1 and #2 Plastics

Taos Recycling Center does not accepts

  • Appliances
  • Televisions
  • Styrofoam
  • Styrofoam packing peanuts
  • Plastic Bags (see Walmart, Smiths)


Angel Fire Has To Suspend Plastics Collection

Marcy purple lightning

Unfortunately, the markets have disappeared for plastics and the Village can no longer collect our No. 1 and 2 plastic bottles. It’s become impossible, at least in the medium term, to find a vendor who will even accept plastic.  Vendors report that it is cheaper to use new plastic to make products than to recycle. Notices about the suspension are up in the Recycle Park and the Transfer Station.


For some background on the industry, see Gulf Coast petrochemical boom contributing to global plastic glut


Reposting Curbita – Brazil Recycling, by Rick Sprott

Last week {sic} we introduced you to the beautiful city of Curitiba in Brazil that is a model for most anything related to sustainability. The place is especially celebrated for its urban planning, mass transit, and ecosystem preservation. But it was the recycling program that just blew my wife and me away when we visited there last month.

The friends we stayed with took us to the neighborhood supermarket and I noted a row of vending machines outside the front door just like the soda and snack dispensers we have here. WRONG. They were recycling bins! And these things are everywhere!


Recycling collection bins at a super market in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.

Most of us aren’t fluent in Portuguese, but it is still easy to see what goes in what bin: Blue is cardboard, Red is plastic, Green is glass, Yellow is aluminum, and Brown is organic waste or cooking oil. Guess what? Angel Fire recycles all those same things except glass which should now come on line in January! We just don’t have the stylin’ containers.

Curitiba has a processing center where recyclables are separated in the different material streams if they have not already been or bins are “contaminated” with trash or the wrong recyclable (a nagging problem everywhere). Cardboard from most small businesses is collected by individual “contractors” who pull small wagons around town and then sell the material. Cooking oil is collected and sold to businesses that process it into a detergent. Other organic food waste is also sold to contractors who create a variety of compost products.

Impressed? We have almost all that right here too. The Village Solid Waste Department has deployed a number of bright green recycling trailers around town. Anyone can put corrugated cardboard, #1 and #2 plastic bottles, and aluminum cans in them. DON’T FORGET TO SEPARATE AND BAG YOUR PLASTIC AND ALUMINUM! It is really expensive to pay the staff to sort through everything when the trailer is brought into the Collection Center. The Village is moving to more separated stream collection so we can add glass – check out the trailer just south of Village Hall. Several restaurants and the resort collect used cooking oil that the Village turns into bio-diesel. OK, we don’t do compost yet, but the high school does!

So be on the lookout for more individual recycling bins, especially at the resort. The new management is embarking on a number of things to sustain the business and the environment. There will be a feature on that soon. Very smart, very Curitiba!

See a video of Curitiba’s recycling program in the second clip at

America Recycles – the Day is November 15th


Any day is a day good to take the pledge, but the USA is lined up NOW.

For America Recycles Day 2015, I pledge to:

Learn. I will find out what materials are collected for recycling in my community.

Act. Reduce my personal waste by recycling. Within the next month, I will recycle more.

Share. In the next month, I will encourage one family member or one friend to take the pledge.

Post. Take and post a photo of you recycling and enter the #Iwillrecycle sweepstakes.

A Tale of Two Cities – Part of our South American Connection

By Rick Sprott

The Moreno Valley is blessed by our long standing “family” connection with many counties in South America.  Among those is Brazil where my wife, Cindy, and I had the pleasure of traveling for business and pleasure in November.  As it turns out, the world’s most celebrated city in urban planning and sustainability is Curitiba, Parana, Brazil…so we went there…instead of Rio.  Wow!

During the next few weeks of Trash Talk, Cindy and I will share the striking similarities of that city of 1.8 million with our own village and Enchanted Circle communities.  Despite what might seem on the surface as apples and oranges, there is a lot in common…and a lot to learn.

Curitiba (pronounced kur-ee-chee-ba by natives or kur-a-tee-ba by the city people in São Paulo) is located 254 miles southwest of São Paulo at about 3000 feet – serious altitude in Brazil!  The region was formerly a heavily forested highland and Curitiba’s name is derived from a very special native pine species that is unique to the region, the Paraná pine tree (pinheiro-do-Paraná in Portuguese).


Paraná pine in Jardim Botanical Garden near Curitiba city center (Photo by R. Sprott)

Curitiba is regarded by many Brazilians as one of its most desirable cites because of its natural spaces, sophisticated public transit system, walk-able streets, and many cultural opportunities.  There has been a vision of sustainability in Curitiba for decades (some claim centuries).  Urban challenges common throughout the world are still present, but they hardly overwhelm the great legacy of the city. (See for a great glimpse)

In our coming columns, we will explore Curitiba and Angel Fire with you to learn how they evolved an urban landscape that seems to pop out of the forest.  We’ll examine their ambitious recycling system, their preservation of watershed, and the incredible work done to improve biodiversity (within city limits!), and many other things.  We’ll even have some surprise guest commentators who know a thing or two about both “cities.”  Most of all, we hope our sharing how our South American “family” has pioneered ways of living and developing that connect our common humanity and place in nature, especially as the holiday season approaches.

Sustainability as a Business — Angel Fire Meeting

NM Recycling Coalition

English Bird from the New Mexico Recycling Coalition (NMRC) will present on the “Growing Recycling Businesses in New Mexico” project on Tuesday, November 10th at 3:00 PM at the Village of Angel Fire Village Hall (3388 Mountain View Blvd) and share a dozen ways that communities can spur economic development through recycling and reuse. Terry McDermott, Community Economic Development Coordinator for USDA Rural Development, will discuss USDA programs that can help support local entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. The presentation is free and open to existing and potential entrepreneurs, business leaders and economic development partners who are ready for inspiration.

In 2010 alone, New Mexicans spent $51 million dollars to bury $168 million worth of recyclable items!  Can you help to change that?

An intrigued entrepreneur could start planning today. A local business owner could expand recycling services. Communities can work together to reduce the amount of material entering NM landfills and create jobs for people in Angel Fire.

Waste Not Want Not

By Tara Chisum

Thanksgiving is generally about three things: tradition, family and food. All of which can make trash the last thing we want to think about. However, food waste and food packaging waste are together the largest part of our trash and have a negative impact on the environment.

According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25 percent of all prepared food, or roughly 96 billion pounds of food per year, is wasted. Additionally, they project that “if even 5 percent of the 96 billion pounds were recovered, that quantity would represent the equivalent of a day’s supply of food for each of 4 million people.”

Food waste is especially rampant on Thanksgiving. I’ve read reports that we prepare twice the amount of food than we need. With so many guests and so little time to prepare, it is easy to miscalculate and find oneself with a vast quantity of leftovers.

How much of that leftover turkey are you really going to eat before you get sick of it and throw it out? I encourage you to realistically assess the leftovers that you will eat and freeze the remainder. Keep leftovers out of the trash by thinking of them as ingredients for follow-up meals. Creative recipe ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers can be found online including stuffing stuffed mushrooms, turkey pot pie, curried turkey salad and sweet potato bread.

Many of us end up with food that never got prepared. Instead of letting the nonperishable items sit in your cabinet until they expire you can seek out opportunities to donate such items to a food bank.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $7,000 on food annually. If you can cut your family’s food waste from the USDA’s estimate of 25% to 10% you could realize a saving of $1,050 per year.

Please don’t forget to recycle. Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts plastic bottles (#1 & 2), aluminum, corrugated cardboard, copper, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL bulbs and steel.

If you have questions or comments for the Angel Fire Sustainability Committee contact Tara Chisum ( or Rick Sprott ( or visit our new website


VAF Logo_reach new heights_small copy

The following is a proclamation that was read at the Moreno Valley High School Recycling Awareness event on November 15 by Mayor Hamilton. The Sustainability Committee thanks Mayor Hamilton and Larry Leahy for their involvement in the event and their dedication to recycling.

Each day, Americans generate over 4.5 pounds of solid waste per person. To focus the nation’s attention on the importance of recycling, Americans are joining together to celebrate America Recycles Day 2010 and New Mexico’s Recycling Awareness Month and are encouraging their fellow citizens to pledge to do more.

Participating in America Recycles Day 2010 and Recycling Awareness Month is one way citizens can help raise awareness about the need to reduce waste by reusing, recycling, and buying recycled products.

As community leaders, we need to spread the word about Angel Fire’s recycling program and the importance of recycling.

We, the Village Council of Angel Fire, New Mexico, do hereby proclaim November 15 as “AMERICA RECYCLES DAY” and November as “RECYCLING AWARENESS MONTH”

in Angel Fire and urge all citizens to pledge to buy recycled-content products and to recycle more items via the Angel Fire recycling program.”

Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts plastic bottles (#1 & 2), aluminum cans, corrugated cardboard, copper, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL bulbs and steel. When depositing recyclables in the recycling trailers please flatten cardboard and bag and tie aluminum and plastic.

If you have questions or comments for the Angel Fire Sustainability Committee contact Tara Chisum ( or Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

Recycling Awareness Event at MVHS Nov. 15 at 5:30 pm (2014)

 I Recycle. Do You? America Recycles Day is coming to Angel Fire.

I Recycle. Do you?” is the theme of the 2010 America Recycles Day (ARD), which takes place on November 15.

America Recycles Day is designed to educate, motivate and inspire individuals to recycle more, purchase recycled products and encouraging their friends and families to do the same. “Keep America Beautiful encourages you to participate in ARD and celebrate what can be accomplished when everyone works together to promote recycling efforts 365 days a year” says Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Matt McKenna.

Moreno Valley High School and Angel Fire Sustainability Committee will proudly declare “I Recycle. Do you?” at MVHS on November 15th at 5:30 pm. MVHS, Village of Angel Fire, Angel Fire Resort and other citizens and businesses will be joining together to make this celebration a hit. Stop by for an engaging and interactive event with student demonstrations, creative reuse exhibits, Village proclamations, and much more. You can sign up to paint a recycling bin for the Angel Fire Resort Ski Area and don’t miss the children’s craft table. The Sustainability Committee will unveil the larger-than-life recycling display on loan from New Mexico Environment Department.

Millions of Americans have pledged to increase their recycling habits at home and at work over the 13-year history of this nationally-recognized initiative. Please fill out the pledge card below and bring it to the MVHS event to help us reach our goal of 100 pledges.

Recycling Awareness Month

Recycling Awareness Month

Recycling. It’s the easiest way that individuals, businesses and institutions can have a significant impact on the environment. New Mexico Recycling Awareness Month (November) is a state-wide annual event created to promote recycling, waste reduction, composting and buying recycled products. It is held in conjunction with the nationwide America Recycles Day on November 15th. 

America Recycles Day will be emphasizing the importance and celebrating successes of recycling. Thousands of organizations are being enlisted to participate in events from coast to coast, reaching millions of Americans with the goal of increasing recycling awareness and participation.

Visitors to are also being encouraged to take the Recycling Pledge, committing personally to recycle more in the coming year. There, you can also calculate the environmental impact of your recycling efforts using the online “Conversionator” tool.

The nation’s composting and recycling rate rose from 7.7 percent of the waste stream in 1960 to 17 percent in 1990 and is currently hovering around 33 percent. The state of New Mexico’s recycling rate is approximately 11%. The New Mexico Recycling Coalition has chosen a goal of reaching a 33% recycling rate as a state by 2012 in order to catch up with the rest of our nation. Weather we choose to recycle or choose not to recycle the citizens and visitors of Angel Fire play a part in this state-wide recycling rate.

If you are considering implementing a recycling program or think you can increase your recycling rate at your home, school, business or event I encourage you to set a goal for the month of November.

Please look for upcoming announcements for recycling events in Angel Fire. Moreno Valley High School will be celebrating America Recycles Day on November 15th. Green Drinks will be on November 8th at 5:30pm at Sunset Grill. More events and details coming soon.

Recyclable Batteries

Recyclable Batteries

What are the Various Types of Batteries? Batteries can be separated into two

basic groups; disposable and rechargeable. Disposables are most commonly

the ubiquitous alkaline battery but also include other single use forms such

as zinc-carbon batteries. Rechargeable batteries are constructed of at least

twenty different chemical compositions. They include car batteries (or lead

acid), power tool batteries, computer and cell phone batteries and many


Are Batteries Toxic? The materials used in all batteries are potentially

dangerous to humans and the environment. The laws governing their

disposal, however, vary greatly in their scope. Some states and all of Europe

require special handling for all batteries, while other laws cover only lead

acid batteries or “rechargables”. Federal standards banned the use of mercury

in alkaline batteries in the mid 1990s, which successfully removed the

the most toxic material in alkaline batteries. While the lack of mercury makes alkaline batteries

less toxic, they continue to pose an environmental risk when not handled

appropriately. In New Mexico only lead acid batteries are regulated, and are

banned from solid waste disposal facilities.

What can we recycle in Angel Fire? The Angel Fire Collection Center accepts all rechargeable batteries. These included auto, golf cart, power tool, electronic and domestic rechargeable batteries. Because disposable batteries cannot be recycled we highly encourage you to only purchase rechargeable batteries. Please take rechargeable batteries to the Angel Fire Collection Center to be recycled.

Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts plastic bottles (#1 & 2), aluminum cans, corrugated cardboard, copper, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL bulbs and steel. When depositing recyclables in the recycling trailers please flatten cardboard and bag and tie aluminum and plastic.

If you have questions or comments for the Angel Fire Sustainability Committee contact Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

Recycling Plastics

Recycling Plastics

The Facts: Plastic materials can last for 700 years in the landfill. For every 1 ton of plastic that is recycled we save the equivalent of one American’s energy use for 2 years and almost 2000 pounds of oil. Recycling 5 plastic bottles = one XL T-shirt or one square foot of carpet.

What do the Recycling Numbers Mean? Plastics can be manufactured from a wide variety of materials and chemical compositions. In 1988 the Society of the Plastics Industry developed numbered codes for identification. However, these “resin codes”, typically found inside the recycling symbol, do not mean the material is recyclable.

Why are Only #1 and #2 Plastics Commonly Recycled? It’s safe to say that plastics with the resin codes #3-7 are not recyclable and should be avoided by consumers. With the exception of a few model programs like that of Stonyfield Farms and Recycline – which turns used #5 yogurt cups into Recycline toothbrushes and razors – there is almost no domestic market for #3-7plastics. When municipalities accept higher numbered plastics, the #3-7’s are typically sorted out and dumped in the landfill. Until recycling markets for #3-7 plastics develop it is best to avoid them and to seek out products with recyclable packaging.

What About Tubs vs Bottles? Even though plastic bottles and tubs might have the same number they are not made of the same material. Bottles are produced through one kind of molding process and tubs through another. The two processes require different plastic mixtures that melt at different temperatures. If these plastic containers are recycled together, the result is a mixture of material that has no use. For recycling purposes a bottle is any container with a spout smaller than the base. Bottles with handles, such as milk and laundry detergent bottles, are recyclable.

Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts plastic bottles (#1 & 2), aluminum cans, corrugated cardboard, copper, batteries, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL bulbs and steel. Please bag and tie the aluminum and plastic that you deposit in the recycling trailers.

If you have questions or comments for the Angel Fire Sustainability Committee contact Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

Side Effects Include …

You Don’t Want To Know …

We’ve all heard the daunting list and read the fine print of side effects from pharmaceutical medications. Unwanted medications are commonly thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet. Because they dissolve easily and don’t evaporate at normal temperatures drugs make their way into soil and aquatic environments. Let’s consider what these unused drugs can do to other species in our environment and when they are re-ingested by humans via drinking water. There are several reports on the increasing presence of pharmaceuticals in America’s water bodies and the potential risk to human health and aquatic life.

Pharmaceutical drugs are chemicals used for diagnosis, treatment, alteration of health condition or structure/function of the human body. Drugs are purposefully designed to interact with cellular receptors and to cause specific biological effects. Adverse effects can occur from interaction with non-target receptors, hence, the menacing side effects. The increasing introduction of new pharmaceuticals is adding to the already large array of chemical classes. Each pharmaceutical has distinct modes of biochemical action, many of which are poorly understood. These distinct biochemical actions can cause harm when unintentionally introduced to our environment.

Pharmaceutical contamination is growing in soil and water samples including drinking water. The risks are not fully known. Aquatic pollution is particularly troublesome because fish are captive to continual, multigenerational exposure. Another concern is whether pharmaceuticals remaining in domestic water will cause long-term risks for human health after a lifetime of ingestion.

As part of the National Pharmaceutical Take Back program please deliver your unused, unneeded and/or expired prescription medication to the Centro Plaza Parking Lot on Saturday September 25th from 10am – 2pm. Please keep the medication in its original container. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. The pharmaceuticals will be disposed of properly with minimal impact on the environment. For questions please call Angel Fire Police Department at 575-377-3214.

Trash talk is a weekly column provided by the Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

What’s In Your Wallet

What’s in Your Wallet Waste?

By now we all recognize the familiar credit card ad question, but we want to talk trash…YOUR TRASH! No one wants to get too personal, but watching our trash can actually tell us a lot. Especially when it comes to recycling or just cutting down on what we throw out.

Why bother? Well, it costs you $35 a month in Village solid waste fees. We also degrade the environment in numerous ways when we don’t take the opportunity to recycle or cut back on trash. For example, it takes a huge amount of energy to mine and refine aluminum, but only a tenth of the amount to reprocess aluminum cans.

So what to do? Start a simple log to record the weight of stuff and separate the things we can recycle – #1 & #2 plastic bottles, aluminum, glass, and corrugated cardboard. The log at our house has 5 columns: Date, general trash, bagged recyclables (glass, plastic, and aluminum), kitty litter, and special items like batteries, ink cartridges, etc. We total it for each month and watch how things track. It’s kind of like a budget; you get to decide what you can and chose to change to improve results.

We found that it was easy to recycle 25% of our trash without breaking a sweat. If we can find a use for kitty litter, it would be close to 50%….or train the cats to go outside or use the commode. If all this sounds like a chore, find a local kid to do it as a science project.

BOTTOMLINE: Dive into your trash, separate the good stuff, write it down, and save the planet! Piece of cake!

Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts aluminum cans, plastic bottles (#1 & 2), corrugated cardboard, copper, batteries, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL light bulbs and steel.

If you need assistance setting up a recycling program in your home or business contact  Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

Philmont Sustainability

Philmont Scout Ranch is a 137,000 acre wilderness area located in the Sangre de Cristos. The Ranch provides backcountry hiking adventures and adult leader training to over 21,000 camping and 3,000 Training Center participants each summer, with a permanent staff of 83 and a trained seasonal staff of 1,083 who are employed by the Boy Scouts of America. Headquarters is four miles south of Cimarron and the ranch’s property neighbors include Vermejo Park Ranch, Kit Carson National Forest and several private ranches. During the summer, Philmont is the 37th largest community in New Mexico.

Philmont has many initiatives that contribute to our sustainability as a working cattle ranch and High Adventure Base of the BSA. For 20 years, our Motor Pool staff has heated their shop using old motor oil. The mailroom, retail store and food commissary reuse their packaging material and packing boxes. Philmont’s forests undergo annual timber treatments and we have partnered with several state and private organizations to create a Demonstration Forest that educates about forest management techniques and ecology. Dark sky friendly lights have been installed in many areas and energy-efficient light bulbs are standard for all staff living quarters and many offices.

Philmont’s recycling efforts include collection bins at headquarters as well as a pickup service from 34 remote access program camps. We collect aluminum cans, plastic #1/#2 bottles and corrugated cardboard, all of which are taken to the Angel Fire Collection Center. The Ranch collects white paper, which goes to Taos Recycling Center and we give used printer cartridges to Cimarron Schools for use as a fundraiser. The most recent collection begun has been NiCad batteries from portable radios and cordless drills.

For over 70 years Philmont Scout Ranch has provided participants with wilderness adventures that last a lifetime. To accomplish this, the Ranch is committed to adapting and expanding best practices on sustainability for future generations.

Recycling at Your Finger Tips

Angel Fire Recycles logo

The Angel Fire recycling program is easily accessible for citizens, businesses and visitors. We have two options for the disposal of our recyclables; the Angel Fire Collection Center and the recycling trailers.

Option #1: Deliver your recyclables to the Angel Fire Collection Center located on Camino Grande, east of Hwy 434 and south of the airport. Hours of operation are M-F, 8-5 and Sat. 8-noon.

I’m sure you will find the Collection Center very pleasant. OK, it smells a bit like trash but the place is exceptionally clean. The Solid Waste Department is dedicated to customer service and the drive- thru design could not be more user friendly. Simply drive inside and you will find recycling receptacles and a friendly staff member ready to assist you. Recyclables delivered to the collection center do not have to be pre-sorted or bagged. Accepted recyclables are aluminum cans, plastic bottles (#1 & 2), corrugated cardboard, copper, batteries, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL bulbs and steel

Option #2: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any easier, it does. There are currently eight recycling trailers in Angel Fire. They are located at Village Hall, Mini Mart, Alpine Lumber, RBS, Enchanted Home Design Center, Zebadiah’s, behind Alpine Gardens and behind the Pizza Stop. As you may have noticed the trailers are getting a facelift. A fresh coat of green paint with white stenciled instructions make these trailers easy to find and use.

When depositing cardboard in the trailers please break it down. Otherwise the Solid Waste Dept. has to make unnecessary trips to empty the trailers. This is wasteful … not exactly a goal of our recycling program. Plastic and aluminum must be bagged so items do not fall out of the trailers and litter the streets.

For questions please call the collection center (575-377-6967) or email  Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind


Do you know where your trash ends up? It’s all too easy to fill up the waste basket and never think about that waste again. We don’t want to be reminded of our ugly waste while enjoying this pristine valley. So it’s hauled away … out of sight, out of mind. Well, it ends up 90 miles away in a landfill near a small town called Wagon Mound, named after a famous butte. Wagon Mound Butte was the last great landmark on the westward journey across the plains of NE New Mexico. It was a guidepost seen by all travelers on the High Plains section of the Santa Fe Trail and is now a National Historic Landmark.
Landfills are Costly – A landfill permit in New Mexico can cost $2 million, construction costs run in the tens of millions and operational costs are increasing every year. In light of these costs, it is surprising to note that NM still ranks at the bottom of the list for disposal costs, averaging 1/8 of the costs other states are faced with. Angel Fire spends $85 per ton of waste that is sent to the landfill and it is inevitable that these costs will increase.

So, what can you and I do about it? Recycle! Divert your waste from the landfill. Not only will it save $84/ton in landfill expense, Angel Fire Village gets paid for selling recyclables. This money is used to keep our Collection Center running and to implement new recycling programs (such as glass recycling – coming soon). Not only will recycling preserve the beauty and history of Wagon Mound it will ensure your solid waste bills remain low.

Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts aluminum cans, plastic bottles (#1 & 2), corrugated cardboard, copper, batteries, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL light bulbs and steel.

If you need assistance setting up a recycling program in your home, business or school contact Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainability Committee.

Recycling Hub and Spoke Model

Recycling “Hub and Spoke”

WagonWheel1The Santa Fe Trail was a big part of the old West. The histories of Cimarron, Elizabeth Town, Ute Park, and Red River are rich with the lore that makes the American West an icon throughout the world.  The Santa Fe Trail was among the covered wagon “interstates”.  Keeping the prairie schooners going meant constant attention to the wooden machines…especially the hub and spokes of the wagon wheels.

Today there are few covered wagons about, but “Hubs and Spokes” are alive and well in New Mexico.  The New Mexico Recycling Coalition and New Mexico Environmental Department  have set up a system of” hubs and spokes” in rural areas to collect and recycle valuable solid wastes.  These recyclables include things like corrugated cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic, glass and many other items.  Recycling requires some expensive equipment and skills.  Rather than replicate facilities in hundreds of villages, hubs are designated and equipped so many surrounding communities can bring their recyclable waste to the hub.

Angel Fire is a Recycling Hub…in fact we are viewed as one of the premier recycling hubs in the entire state!  Our Solid Waste Department accepts recyclables from Red River, Eagle Nest, Cimarron, Philmont, Eagle Nest Park, Cimarron Canyon State Park, and Capulin Volcano National Monument.  They save money in landfill costs and we make money selling the goods.  Win-Win!

The cool thing is the wheel has to have both the hub and the spokes to work…a great way for villages old and new to preserve the beauty that abounded when the Trail was an “interstate”!

Angel Fire Collection Center (377-6967) currently accepts aluminum cans, plastic bottles (#1 & 2), corrugated cardboard, copper, batteries, motor & cooking oil, antifreeze, CFL light bulbs and steel.

If you need assistance setting up a recycling program in your home, business or school contact Tara Chisum ( or Rick Sprott (

Trash Talk is a weekly column brought to you by your Angel Fire Sustainably Committee.