Socorro needs new recycling guru


Need an economic opportunity?

Well I’ve got one for you! For the past couple of years, my husband and I have enjoyed a trashy luxury normally found only in densely populated urban worlds: curbside recycling.

We sort our aluminum, other metals, glass of all colors, most plastics, all paper, plus paperboard (packaging) into admittedly once-used grocery bags. We flatten cardboard boxes (just before they jostle us out of house and home), then sit back and sleep in on the one morn per month when fine young gentlemen arrive bright and early to quietly haul it all away.

None of these valuables go to our landfills and we feel really good about having so thoroughly and easily recycled. The recycling yards in Albuquerque pay these guys a bounty for their hauled booty and, according to chief recycler and company founder Chris Michel, his business dependably makes money and comes out ahead.

The monthly cost to me and Bear, who spend no more than half an hour a month performing the initial sorting? Less than the price of one small tank of gasoline — or about as cheap as four lattes. Put another way, it’s less than two hours pay at Santa Fe’s minimum wage.

But Chris Michel and his recycling service (part of Morning Woodcutters, as he’s also a tree surgeon and sells firewood) are going away. It’s sad but true. Chris’ wife receives her degree from New Mexico Tech this spring, and off they go. It’s the perennial Socorro sob-story, repeated a thousand times over the past 120 years. Students, who added so much to the community’s life, pull up stakes. And we can only bless them on their way.

Oh, how I dread returning to a world without an elegant recycling service! All my funky junk ending up in the landfill and not being re-utilized? Or hauling it ourselves (which I much confess, probably wouldn’t happen)? I just can’t bear the thought! But there is hope:

Michel is offering his business (not “selling” it, mind you) to any persons of good will who will take over his routes and keep the service going. I fervently hope someone will step up and fill his shoes — soon! Chris is suspending collections next month.

Just so you know what you would be getting into, here are the details:

  • Michel will turn over his present route of paying customers to the party assuming the business. No cash outlay is necessary on your part, unless you wish to purchase some of Chris’ equipment.
  • The loads of recyclables can be collected and hauled to market in a pick-up truck. But with a trailer, Chris makes the trip to Albuquerque to sell the sorted volume only once every couple of months, thus conserving gasoline.
  • The re-sorting and efficient packing of the gathered refuse, plus its delivery to market, requires less than five hours of work per month (not counting the time of any helpers one might hire). That definitely leaves time for you to work a “day job” or other part-time employment.
  • Michel eventually hired two young fellows to run the collection route each month, San Antonio to San Acacia. So, the business is a job creator!
  • Customers’ bills go out just twice a year — and tend to be happily and readily paid.
  • One of the sweetest reasons for you to take over this valued service is that it’s ripe for growth! Previously, word of mouth kept Chris about as busy as he wished to be. Can you imagine what a touch more advertising could do for your bottom line?

“How very useful and helpful for Chris to have taken on local recycling — a real service to the community! It would be good if someone picks it up and continues,” said Paul Krehbiel, a local physicist.

So, someone out there who would like a spiffy little business which benefits both our society and environment: Please, pick it up and continue. Interested parties can contact or call Chris at 838-2202. Give this ready opportunity some thought. And don’t wait too long!