Recycle Cíbola! is a group of residents in Cíbola County who joined together in February of 2010 to start an organized recycling program in our community. Recycle Cíbola! is not yet a non-profit organization.


During the past four years, Recycle Cíbola! has worked with the Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority (SWA or Solid Waste Authority), Cíbola County, the City of Grants, the Village of Milan, businesses, schools, community groups, and individuals to establish and support a recycling program in the Cíbola-McKinley County Region (Region).


With other participants from the Region, we support a Hub-Spoke Recycling Program. The New Mexico Recycling Coalition developed the theory of a Hub-Spoke Recycling Program, using federal funding for that purpose. The theory is pretty straightforward. Areas that are sparsely populated cannot collect enough recyclables to support an economically- or ecologically-viable program. Thus, smaller communities should combine to establish a centralized recycling operation, known as a Hub. The Hub will process and sell recyclables that surrounding communities (called Spokes) collect.


Our Hub is located at the Red Rocks Regional Landfill and is run by the Solid Waste Authority. It services Cíbola and McKinley Counties and the municipalities within them. Our Spokes are McKinley and Cíbola Counties and the municipalities of Gallup, Grants, and Milan. Through collection centers throughout the two-County region, our Spokes collect and supply recyclable materials to the Hub. The Hub assists the Spokes by staffing our recycling collection centers and in transporting the materials to the Hub for processing. The Solid Waste Authority bales the materials and sells them to purchasers. The monies received by the Solid Waste Authority are used to help cover program costs. Much of the recycling equipment used in the recycling program (balers, roll-off bins, collection containers, etc.) has been obtained through state and federal grant funding. Most of the outreach and education in Cíbola County has been accomplished through the work of Recycle Cíbola! members, with support from the New Mexico Recycling Coalition and the Solid Waste Authority. The grassroots recycling organization in McKinley County — McKinley Citizens Recycling Coalition does the outreach and education for McKinley County.


Through the efforts of all of our team members, our Region has made considerable progress within the past 4 years. Below is a chronology of events and accomplishments (centering mostly on Cíbola County).




  • April 14, 2010, Recycling Kick-Off Celebration and Opening of Recycling Drop-Off at Cíbola County Transfer Station (in Milan): Recycling drop-off center opens at the Cíbola County Transfer Station in Milan. Recyclables accepted at this location are: cardboard, white paper, newspaper, steel and tin cans, aluminum, used motor oil, tires, and electronic waste. Solid Waste Authority, through the support of Billy Moore, Executive Director, provided equipment and staffing for this first location.


  • 2010 RAID Grant Application*: We drafted the application for and were awarded 2010 RAID grant, to fund, in part, start-up costs for Cíbola County recycling program. Total of $34,000, awarded in June, 2010.


  • September 2010, Federal Grant Application for Horizontal Baler at Cíbola-McKinley County Recycling Hub. We were part of a regional group that supported an application for federal funds to establish a Hub recycling center at Red Rocks Landfill in Thoreau. A total of $497,000 was awarded, in September, 2010, to Gallup, Raton, and Truth or Consequences to establish hubs in these areas. The award to Gallup supports a recycling Hub for Cíbola and McKinley Counties, including Gallup, Grants, and Milan. The Hub is located at Red Rocks Landfill in Thoreau and is run by the Solid Waste Authority.


  • November 15, 2010, Expansion of Materials Collection. On America Recycles Day, Cíbola County expanded program to include plastics (Nos. 1-5) and mixed paper. In 2012, in coordination with the New Mexico Recycling Coalition, the program is modified to include Plastic Bottles, Nos. 1 and 2, only.
  • July 2010 – present, Installation of 96-Gallon Containers. ~100 small recycling carts (96-gallon containers), purchased under 2010 RAID grant award, have been placed at government buildings, community centers, schools, businesses, and special events.


  • February 2010 – present, Outreach and Education. Recycle Cíbola! has implemented and sustained outreach to and education of the community through participation in community events and school programs, and publication of feature articles in local newspaper, The Cíbola Beacon. Community events include: Earth Day Celebrations, Continental Divide Electric Co-op Annual Shareholders’ Meeting and Fair, Easter Egg Hunt, Ag. Day, Fiesta de Colores, the July 4th Parade, the Fire and Ice Rally, and the Parade of Lights. At these events, Recycle Cíbola! often provided educational materials and information about the availability of recycling in Cíbola County


  • March 2011-present, Staffing Downtown Drop-Off Centers on Saturday Mornings. From the opening of the first downtown Grants recycling center to the present, Recycle Cíbola! volunteers have staffed Grants and Milan drop-off centers on Saturday mornings from 8:00 a.m. – noon. At present, one Grants center is staffed on Saturdays.


  • Winter, 2011-present, Recycling in Schools in Cíbola County. Recycle Cíbola! assisted Mt. Taylor Elementary School and Grants High School with recycling drives. We met with school administration officials, who agreed with our proposal to work with designated recycling liaisons or principals to begin recycling programs in the Grants/Cíbola County school system. We have continued to reach out to schools to help them start recycling programs during the past 2 years. We assisted the following schools: Mt. Taylor Elementary, Mesa View Elementary, Milan Elementary, Bluewater Elementary, San Rafael Elementary, Cubero Elementary, St. Joseph’s Mission School, St. Teresa’s, Los Alamitos Middle School, Grants High School, and Ramah Elementary (McKinley County). A limited program at Laguna-Acoma High School began in January of 2013. We continue to work with the schools to educate students and staff and to increase recycling.
  • February 2011 – present. Recyclable Artwork by Students on Exhibit at the Double Six Gallery. Very talented and creative students from several schools in the area exhibited art works made of recycled materials at the Double Six Gallery.


  • March 5, 2011, Opening of Grants City Hall Drop-Off Center. Bright blue recycling roll-offs, purchased under 2010 RAID grant, are placed next to Grants City Hall for the opening of a downtown recycling drop-off center. At first, Cíbola County and Grants provided staffing during the week. The Solid Waste Authority then took over staffing during the week. From the start, Recycle Cíbola! volunteers staffed the center on Saturday mornings.


  • June 2011, Federal Spoke Grant Award of $164,500 to purchase 10 sets of roll-off containers for Cíbola County Recycling Program. We applied for and were awarded a federal grant (Spoke Grant) to obtain large recycling roll-off containers for recycling drop-off centers in Grants, Milan, and at all convenience stations in Cíbola County. Cíbola County applied as the fiscal agent on behalf of Cíbola County, Grants, Milan, and the Solid Waste Authority.


  • June 2011, Keep America Beautiful/Coca Cola Beverage Bin Grant Award. We applied for and were awarded a grant offered by Coca-Cola and Keep America Beautiful for 75 beverage recycling bins (ClearStream containers) to be placed in schools in Cíbola County.


  • November, 2011-present, Trashion Show at Grants High School. The art class of Ellie McDonald created wonderful fashion items made of recyclable materials. They held a “trashion show” at half-time at a basketball game. Some of the trashions were also exhibited at the Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet in January, 2012 and at the Easter Egg Hunt Program in April of 2012. Ms. McDonald’s classes have held Trashion Shows each year.


  • December 2011-2013, Parade of Lights. In 2013, we won first place for our float. It featured a Christmas Tree made of recycled plastic water bottles, a snow man made of gallon jugs, and fringe made of plastic water bottles, all threaded with LED lights. The float also displayed snowflakes made of recycled paper and packing materials, created and decorated by students from Milan and Mt. Taylor Elementary students. Students from Milan Elementary also traveled in the recycling trailer, holding signs and calling out to parade spectators. In 2012, we won second place; and, in 2011, we won third place for our float.


  • 2011-2013, Recycling Christmas Trees from community residents, in cooperation with the BLM and U.S. Park Service.


  • January 2012, Award of $ 58,303 Federal Spoke Improvement Grant, to support the Cíbola-McKinley Regional Recycling Program. In November of 2011, we created a Regional Recycling Plan for Cíbola and McKinley Counties and applied for federal funding under the Spoke Improvement Grant. Funding from this grant has enabled the Solid Waste Authority to purchase roll-offs for additional recycling drop-off locations in Gallup (2) and other locations in McKinley County. The three locations in Gallup are up and running: 1) The Cultural Center, 2) the Larry Brian Mitchell Rec. Ctr., and 3) the McKinley County Transfer Station. Cíbola County was the fiscal agent/applicant, and presented the new Regional Recycling Plan as part of that application.


  • 2012 Openings of New Recycling Drop-Off Centers throughout Cíbola County. Additional recycling drop-off centers in the Village of Milan and City of Grants (Next to Village and City Police Departments), and at the Cubero, Seboyeta, San Mateo, and Bluewater Convenience Centers were opened in 2012 (about every 2-4 weeks, starting in January). We had opening celebrations at each opening — where we had free coffee and donuts, free travel mugs, and other giveaways. A drop-off center at the Pine Hill Convenience Center was expected to open in the spring of 2013. Recyclables accepted at these locations are: cardboard, mixed paper, newspaper, steel and tin cans, aluminum, plastic bottles (Nos. 1 and 2), and telephone books. Electronic waste, tires, and used motor oil are accepted at the Cíbola and McKinley County Transfer Stations.


  • 2012 Education and Outreach Supplied Provided by NMRC through federal grant funding. NMRC was awarded federal grant funds to assist rural communities with education and outreach and to help streamline and standardize recycling throughout the state. The Cíbola-McKinley Hub/Spoke Program was selected for assistance. We received informational materials and giveaways which we provided to the community at our opening events for new recycling drop-off centers and in schools and community events.


  • 2012 RAID Tire Recycling Grant Award to purchase a tire de-rimmer. Note: we applied for 3 RAID grants in April, 2012 (Tire, Recycling, and Illegal Dumping). We only received partial funding under the Tire RAID Grant. We did not receive education and outreach funding requested under the RAID grant because of the assistance we received from the NMRC in 2012 under its federal funding (see previous bullet).


  • 2012 Awards. Recycle Cíbola! received two awards in 2012. The first was 2012 Organization of the Year awarded by the Grants/Cíbola County Chamber of Commerce. The second was 2012 Recycling Activist Group of the Year Award from the New Mexico Recycling Coalition.


  • 2012-present, Working with the Cíbola County/Grants Chamber of Commerce and Businesses to encourage and increase business recycling. We have been working with the Chamber of Commerce to increase business recycling. We hope that the Chamber will send a Chamber/Recycle Cíbola letter to its members to urge businesses to recycle. We have been awarding businesses and organizations for their recycling efforts at Chamber breakfasts throughout the year.



  • May, 2013, Inscription Rock Trading Post Drop-Off Center Opening. We had an opening celebration for the new recycling center at Inscription Rock Trading Post.
  • Summer of 2013. We applied for and were awarded funding from Milan, Grants, and Cíbola County, to continue to outreach and education efforts. We were awarded $1,000 from Milan; $2,500 from Grants; and $3,500 from Cíbola County.


  • February 2014. Application for KAB/Snapple Beverage Bin Grant. Laura Jaramillo, Executive Director of Future Foundations Family Center, applied for a bin grant to provide beverage recycling containers for the new bike path, for which the County/City/Village received funding in 2013, as well as public parks and ball fields in the City of Grants.




Grant Funding for Recycling/Applications and Awards: With one exception, we drafted the grant applications on behalf of a community project team that usually included: Cíbola County, Grants, Milan, and the Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority. Later grant applications also included McKinley County, Gallup, and Seboyeta on the project team. Either the Solid Waste Authority or the County were the lead applicants on these grants, and they were awarded the funding or the equipment. There was one grant for which we applied directly: the Keep America Beautiful/Coca Cola Bin Grant. We were awarded ClearStream ™ beverage recycling containers, for placement in the schools (see below).

RAID Grants. RAID stands for Recycling and Illegal Dumping. These grants are offered by the State of N.M. through the Department of Environment, Solid Waste Division. There are separate grant applications for recycling, illegal dumping abatement, and tire recycling. The first section of the Recycling RAID grant requires the community to create a Community Recycling Plan. We did that in 2010 for Cíbola County. In 2012, we revised the Community Recycling Plan and made it a Cíbola-McKinley Counties Regional Recycling Plan. We were awarded funding in 2010, to start the recycling program in Cíbola County, and partial funding in 2012, under a tire grant, to purchase a derimmer. In 2011 – 2013, except for the partial tire grant funding, we did not receive state funding for recycling because we had applied for and received considerable federal funding for our recycling program.

Federal Grants: Spoke Grant and Spoke Improvement Grant.

These 2 grants were offered in 2011 under federal legislation known as ARRA (America Reinvestment and Recovery Act). The NMRC administered both grants. The first grant was called the Recycling Spoke Development Grant, based on the Hub/Spoke model of recycling programs for rural communities (see intro). The second grant was known as the Recycling Center Improvement and Spoke Grant (Spoke Improvement Grant).


Funding under the Spoke Grant provided most of the roll-offs in Cíbola County, including those in downtown Grants and Milan. [Prior to receiving the Spoke Grant, we had obtained 3 roll-offs through the 2010 RAID and also used older equipment that the Solid Waste Authority had provided]. Funding under the Spoke Improvement Grant provided roll-offs for McKinley County, including 2 in downtown Gallup. Those recycling centers opened in December 2012 and/or spring of 2013.


Keep America Beautiful/Coca-Cola Beverage Bin Grant. This is the only grant for which Recycle Cíbola! was the official applicant. Under this grant, we obtained 75 ClearStream ™ beverage collection containers for placement in the schools in Cíbola County.

The Solid Waste Authority. Billy Moore, Executive Director of the Solid Waste Authority, and his operations manager, Gary Ford, have overseen the Recycling Program from the beginning. It has been and continues to be a learning process for all. They do an awful lot, including staffing the centers during the week, hauling full roll-offs and replacing them with empty ones, and baling and selling collected materials. They have been the applicants for many of the grant applications, and administered funds. They also have worked with Cíbola County, the applicant on the federal grants, to purchase equipment and satisfy all the reporting requirements. They have coordinated efforts with the NMRC, volunteer groups, and government officials in McKinley and Cíbola Counties. They have supported our outreach efforts by paying for some of our educational materials and ads in the Beacon.