Collections dates are the second and last Saturdays of the month from 10 am to 12 pm.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I take plastic bags?  What happens to them?

You can take clean, dry plastic bags, film and plastic mailers to Walmart, Albertson’s, or Food Basket.  Ideally, this “soft plastic” is recycled into other plastic bags, or synthetic lumber or decking.  Soft plastic should never be sent to plastic recyclers as it gets caught in the machinery, slows the process and can damage the machines.   Sadly, investigative reporting tells us that less than 10% of the bags we drop off at grocery stores ends up recycled.  Yet, taking plastic bags to the grocery store bins is still better than sending them to the landfill because there is a chance they will be recycled.  The upshot is that we should AVOID using single use plastic!  Note that if you bring your items in plastic bags, we will return your bags to you so that you can reuse them.

There are some fascinating startups that are creating cordage from soft plastic called “plarn” (plastic yarn, which can be woven, knitted, or crocheted into surprisingly attractive, durable goods. 

What types of plastic do you take?

We take plastics 1, 2, and 5.  The number in the recycling symbol is an identification code that indicates the type of plastic. Plastics with the numbers 1 and 2 are the most commonly recycled. Plastics with the numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are generally more difficult to recycle.

1: PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate.  This is the easiest plastic to recycle.

2: HDPE or High Density Polyethylene.  This plastic can be found in both rigid and soft plastic forms.

5: PP or Polypropylene.  This is an FDA-approved food contact plastic.  It is often used for single serve items.  Polypropylene is dishwasher safe and can be reused many times.

Does glass need to be separated by color?

No, glass does not need to be separated by color.  However, we do try to separate the blue glass on site since the crushed blue glass is especially beautiful.

What can I do with crushed glass?

Many people have been taking our crushed glass to use in landscaping just as one might use gravel.  It is not especially sharp and can be handled easily.  Crushed glass can also be used as aggregate when making concrete.  You can make your own pavers with crushed glass, and if you grind the surface, the crushed glass will be revealed.  With the proper kiln, crushed glass can be made into glass tiles.

How can I take home crushed glass?

You can bring 5-gallon buckets to haul away crushed glass.  Just ask anyone on the site to show you where it is; we want to see it used!

Where can I take electronic waste (“e-waste”)? What happens to it?

At present, there is no large-scale e-waste disposal solution in Silver City.  In the short term, there are individuals who can be found on the Facebook group “Grant County Information” who will collect old printers, computers, and TVs to recycle.   You might also check Grant County Goodies.  Silver City Recycles is investigating several longer term, permanent solutions that may require cooperation with the Town of Silver City or the Southwest Solid Waste Authority.

Nationwide, only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled with the remainder sent to landfills or incinerated which releases toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium into the soil, groundwater and atmosphere.   Aside from the harm to our biosphere, sending e-waste to the landfill is a waste of useful resources.  Recycling e-waste recovers these materials — including valuable metals such as gold or copper –that manufacturers can use to make new products, thus reducing the energy required to mine, refine, and manufacture new materials.  At present, most of our e-waste that is collected to recycle is sent abroad to be sorted.  China receives most of the world’s e-waste.

The EPA reports that by recycling one million cell phones, 35,000 pounds of copper, 33 pounds of palladium, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold can be recovered.

Where can I take larger pieces of scrap metal?

Presently, the metal recycling companies in town are no longer open.  You can take larger pieces of scrap metal to the landfill where there is a designated section for these materials.  We will post an announcement when and if our local metal recyclers reopen.

Where do we send our materials, and what happens to them?

The recycling market is dynamic, and we sell our materials to recycling aggregators based on price, shipping cost, and convenience, all of which change on a monthly basis.  We guarantee that all of our materials are entering the recycling system and will not be sent to the landfill.  Note that there is no money to be made in plastic recycling.  We collect plastic so that it does not end up in the landfill.

PLASTIC:  All plastic is, in theory, recyclable.  Plastic is precious, and when we recycle it, we conserve non-renewable fossil fuels, reduce the consumption of energy used in the production of new plastic, reduce the amount of solid waste going to the landfill, and reduce the emission of GHGs into the atmosphere.

When plastic items reach the recycling center, it is sorted, shredded, washed, melted, pelletized, and then made into new products.

CARDBOARD: Corrugated cardboard is one of the easiest things to recycle.  It is sent to a paper mill where it is sorted, shredded, then blended into a pulp slurry. The pulp is filtered to remove contaminants, and then dried and “finished” into sheets of paper.  Special equipment manufactures new cardboard material. 

93% of cardboard in the U.S. is recycled, yet around 55% of all cardboard is made by cutting down trees.  Recycling one ton of cardboard saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water.

ALUMINUM:  The aluminum beverage cans we collect are sent to a recycling center where they are cleaned, sorted, and crushed.  Then, they go to an aluminum manufacturing plant where they are shredded, remelted, and solidified again.  Aluminum is infinitely recyclable!

METAL CANS:  At a metal recycling center, cans are pressure-washed with a chemical to remove the tin layers.  Then they are shredded into tiny pieces and melted in a furnace into flat sheets.  Molten iron is added to the furnace, then oxygen is basted into the furnace which heats up to around 3.000 degrees F.  This now liquid metal is poured into a mold to form big slabs which are then rolled into coils which can be made into more steel products.  Overall, metal cans are a sustainable packaging option.

My styrofoam waste has a number 1, 2, or 5 on it.  Why can’t it be recycled at SCR?

Since we are a small operation at this point, we cannot recycle all materials simply because they  are labeled with the chasing arrows recycling symbol.  Even large recycling systems cannot recycle styrofoam.  Styrofoam is known as “expanded polystyrene” (EPS)..  It’s made up of 95% air, so it’s lightweight but bulky.  At present, recycling plants can only process styrofoam by compacting it into a denser shape, but the fact is that recycling styrofoam is rare.  Commercial recycling companies are experimenting with ways to use chemicals to break down styrofoam into polystyrene, but the bottom line is that styrofoam should be avoided.

Why did the town of Silver City stop recycling pick up?

The Town ended our single-stream recycling program in 2019 soon after China stopped accepting recyclable materials.  Until 2018, China had been the world’s largest purchaser of recyclable materials.  In addition,  many recyclable material handling companies closed because the market for their goods had dried up.  Silver City was among many municipalities that ended their recycling programs because of the change in the recycling market.