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Waste as Resources

Is it waste or a resource? This page helps you assess the way you think about waste and gives you ideas for changing how you see items you may have previously thought of as waste.

On this page, you will find:

one albuquerque icon Municipal Waste Reduction no trash icon Food Loss and Waste globe plant icon Composting Circular Economy Icon Reusing and Recycling tools and innovation icon Other Ways to Reduce Waste

Rethinking Waste

The vast majority of products contribute to the climate crisis in each stage of their life cycle, from production to disposal, through a linear path. By thinking of production systems like natural processes, which are more circular, and by valuing the direct and indirect impacts products have on communities and ecosystems, we can transform how we think of waste, reduces greenhouse gases and create environmental and social resilience.

linear and circular materials management pathways

one albuquerque icon Municipal Waste Reduction

The City has a variety of projects and services that support sustainability through material reuse, recycling, composting, or prevention.

FUSE Executive Fellowship Project

The City is partnering with FUSE Corps to host a fellow, who is working with the City and community to design a citywide, equity focused composting program. The 1-year fellowship started in October 2023, and will be completed in October 2024. Would you like to be involved? You can email fellow Matthew Fien Gretton, and please sign up for our e-newsletter to receive updates on the fellowship and other sustainability news.

Timeline:

  • October 2023 - February 2024: Listening Sessions
  • February 2024 - May 2024: Program Design
  • May 2024 - June/July 2024: Public Feedback Period for Draft Program Design
  • June/July 2024 - October 2024: Finalize Program Design

Food Waste Prevention

The City is partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to further local food waste prevention work.

Food Scrap Pilot Project

From July 2023 to June 2024, the City is exploring food scrap diversion at two different food preparation sites:

  • The City’s Senior Affairs CASA Kitchen, which prepares hundreds of meals each day
  • Explora’s new concessions, run by Three Sister’s Kitchen.

Coordinated by the Sustainability Office, local hauler Little Green Bucket transports the compostable materials to Soilutions, where the materials are turned into finished compost.

Do you want to support the pilot? When you visit Explora's concessions, use the sorting bins in the concessions seating area to divert your food waste, compostable packaging, and recyclable packaging from the landfill.

New signage at the Explora concessions to divert items from the landfill

Community Composting Co-op Sites

In the summer of 2023, seven new community compost bins were constructed as part of a Community Compost Pilot project. Two of those bins are at City facilities: Barelas Senior Center and North Valley Senior Center. Learn more about our community compost sites and how to get involved.

Currently, we are looking for volunteers to help care for the compost bins, which are accepting items from the senior center kitchens and co-located community gardens. Soon, the bins will be able to accept items from off-site. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Sandra West ([email protected]).

community compost site photocommunity compost site photo

no trash icon Food Loss and Waste at Home

How much food is wasted? Americans throw away more than 40% of the food supply leading to 119 billion pounds of wasted food annually in the United States. NRDC estimated that 112,000 tons of food are wasted each year in Albuquerque.

Why is reducing food waste important? It...

Act to Prevent Food Waste

There are many easy and quick actions you can take to reduce food waste. Here are key tips and resources to get you started. Pick one and try it. Then choose another, and share your successes with your friends and family.

Store food icon 1. Sketch out a Plan. Store food icon 2. Store Food Smartly. small portion icon 3. Use It Up. expiration dates icon 4. Understand Expiration Dates. 

Additional Resources

globe plant icon Composting

Composting has many benefits. Diverting items to be composted instead of going to the landfill (1) reduces greenhouse gas emissions (2) and the finished compost helps build healthy local soils. Healthy soils can serve as a storage space for carbon dioxide, better absorb water during rainfall events, and help grow local food or shade trees. Learn more about why and how to compost:

How to Compost?

There are a variety of ways to compost, and the designs and instructions can change based on climate. In our arid climate, the best way to learn is from those who also compost in arid climates. Here are some local resources to get you started:

Where to Compost?

Compost at Home

Learn a variety of ways to compost at home from the Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters.

Find a Community Compost or Garden

The asset map below shows publicly accessible community compost and garden sites in the Albuquerque metro area. Please click on the pins below to learn more about each site, what they do and how you can get involved.

View the map on a phone, tablet, or in a separate window. Or, view alternative map viewer in a separate window.

This map is made possible thanks to information provide by each site. Please reach out to the site contact for further information. If something needs to be updated on this map, please email Sandra West ([email protected]).

Do you volunteer with or work for a community compost or garden site that is not on this map? Please help us improve this asset map by completing the site addition request form.

Other Ways to Compost in Albuquerque

Circular Economy Icon Reusing and Recycling

Reusing

There are a variety of ways to reuse or repurpose an item, including clothing donation centers, second-hand exchange or selling platforms, etc.

You can also repurpose your green waste. The City offers a few options to repurpose your green waste:

Recycling

How to Recycle?

Here are a few tools to help you navigate what is accepted in the City's blue roll carts.

  • Do you know what goes in the compost versus recycle versus trash? Test your knowledge by playing the Know What to Throw game!
  • Check your recycling day and find out what goes in the blue bin on Recycle Coach.

Where to Recycle?

tools and innovation icon Other Ways to Reduce Waste

Here are few ideas help you think differently about items that are often wasted:

  • Repair items when possible, and buy items designed to be repaired.
  • Buy items that will last longer. This often saves money in the long-term.
  • Find creative uses for items that would otherwise be though of as trash. Recycle fashion shows are one way to think creatively about items.
  • Fully utilize the resources at hand. This can be applied to food preparation, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc. Also, if you have a fruit tree, ask volunteers to help you gather or use the fruit.
  • Become a One Albuquerque Volunteer and help efforts to reduce food insecurity, waste, and more!