County Proposes Recycling Plan for Rio Rico, Tubac and Sonoita
By Aisha Sander

On Jan 8, 2020 Santa Cruz County officials John Hayes, manager for solid waste / flood control and Jesus Valdez, Director of Public Works met with Santa Cruz Environmental Stewards, a group of volunteers who have been advocating for increased recycling since the county almost completely ceased recycling trash at the landfills in 2019. 

The proposal for recycling in the county is currently in Phase one, which still requires approval from the County Board of Supervisors. In Phase One, the county is preparing the sites at the Rio Rico landfill, the Tubac transfer station and the Sonoita landfill, and is working to find buyers for the various recyclable items, is educating the public and is increasing its presence on
social media. 

The county presented two site plans for the Tubac transfer station recycling Area and the Rio Rico landfill recycling area, but did not present one for the Sonoita landfill. In both plans they would place seven bins under a covered area to accept Plastics 1 and 2, Other Plastics (3-7), Cardboard, Mixed Paper, Glass, Aluminum cans, and Tin. 

The approximate cost to develop the three sites would be between $40,000-$60,000. The cost for employees to work on these sites would be approximately $25,000 for six months. 

The concern about Patagonia recycling site is contamination because the current site is open and not secure. County officials stated that they believe local residents are not at fault, but more likely that because the site is not secure it is used as a dumping site for garbage by people traveling through.

Therefore, Patagonia likely needs a new location and the county has some ideas about this. Patagonia will be addressed in a future phase of the county’s recycling collection plan.

The PRT is sponsoring a public forum about the state of recycling in Santa Cruz County and possible solutions on Jan 25 at 10:30 a.m., at the Patagonia Public Library. All are encouraged to attend.