RATON — If you have not yet experienced a trip to the Raton Regional Recycling Hub Facility (RRRHF), you are definitely missing out! RRRHF is a clean, accessible location that is easy to navigate in and out of. Located in the Armex Building at 420 East 4th Avenue, RRRHF services not only Raton, but surrounding communities such as Springer, Maxwell, Cimarron, Philmont and Capulin, to name a few. It is certified by the State of New Mexico Environment Department for meeting the criteria of the New Mexico Solid Waste Rules and being registered as a Recycling Facility. In 2011, the city received a $150,000 grant to purchase several collection trailers as well as a bailer to prepare the recycled materials for transportation. Due to the city’s tight resources, the Solid Waste Recycling Task Force of Grow Raton stepped up to the plate to lead this environmental charge. Pat Vigil as the Director of Solid Waste wrote the original grant which led to the creation of RRRHF. At this time, there was a need to get recycling started in Raton as many citizens were interested in being environmentally conscious. David Wentling, as part of the Solid Waste Recycling Task Force of Grow Raton, led the way in organizing persons who for some 20 years were
trying to get a recycling system in place. Wentling assisted Vigil by writing another grant for the purchase of equipment to be used solely for the purpose of moving materials such as bales of prepared recycling. Jason Phillips, the current Director of Solid Waste, oversees RRRHF’s recycling program. Vigil currently holds the position of director of public works. To accomplish the tasks and projects required by both areas, they share four workers who are certified Recycling Facility Operators. Larry Marquez, Donald Garcia, Larry Berg and David Gallegos each hold current certification from the State of New Mexico Environment Department. Recycling facility operators, together with the recycling volunteers, take turns receiving and sorting recycling, all while exchanging in friendly relationships. Saturday morning at RRRHF is an upbeat and pleasant interchange between the citizens bringing in their recycling and those at work. Obviously, this is more than just recycling. Here, friendships are made, each having a healthy respect for the other as they all join in the act of recycling. On any given recycling day, many church groups, youth groups and even persons needing to do community service hours can be found at RRRHF. These efforts are coordinated by Wentling through the vision of Grow Raton. What motivates Wentling and the other volunteers to continue with their efforts? “Sustainability. The only way a community can survive is through sustainable programs. It is a way of life and not something you do because it is required,” Wentling says with conviction. Recycling education and awareness programs, persons dedicated to promoting recycling awareness, and recycling bins throughout the city in public places are all needed to raise consciousness about this process. Recycling is simply a smarter way of living. If you aren’t already recycling, you should definitely start today. RRRHF hours are first Saturday of the month, 9 am – 1 pm and second and fourth Wednesdays of the month 9 am – 12 pm. Call 575 445 9181 for more details.