Since April, J&A Recycling has been offering curbside recycling services for Roswell and surrounding areas.
Owner Wesley Muñoz, a local to Roswell, said his father instilled the importance of recycling in him at a young age. Muñoz explained that J&A stands for his daughters’ names, Jadalee and Amelia.
“That’s my biggest goal here — is I just want to make a difference,” Muñoz said. “I want to push a good, clean environment for Roswell …”
Customers establish a plan for the weekly recycling service and Muñoz collects the recyclables and loads them into a trailer. The service covers all of Chaves County and also includes Artesia.
Muñoz does separating after collecting and takes all cleaned and emptied plastics, paper, cardboard and glass. Styrofoam is the one material Muñoz said he will not collect.
After this, Muñoz takes recyclables to Town Recycling in Albuquerque and collection sites in El Paso, Texas. At this time, he has 34 residential and five commercial customers. He said a handful of his customers are first-time recyclers, who previously believed that recycling was a hassle.
Muñoz said he hopes the convenience his business offers will incentivize people to recycle. He stated that in some bigger cities recycling is mandatory, but not in Roswell.
The business is licensed as a Minor Home Occupation Type with the city of Roswell as of March 18, according to a public records request. If the business grows, Muñoz hopes to open a recycling plant in Roswell to provide jobs and process recyclables locally.
Muñoz said his daughter showed him videos of the impact of trash in the ocean on sea turtles, which he described as “horrible” and eye-opening. On a more local level, Muñoz has noticed the changes in Roswell’s environment and wants to prevent the decline of wildlife that might ingest plastic and other trash.
Recalling rains in his youth, Muñoz said these big storms would result in the appearance of toads, turtles, lizards and other wildlife, but the numbers have decreased.
Prior to this, Muñoz worked in the oilfield and got in an accident, and faced spinal injuries, which led to physical therapy with Dr. Ryan Wooley. From the accident, Muñoz knew he would have difficulty finding a job and he and Wooley, now Muñoz’s business partner, came up with the idea of J&A Recycling.
For existing recycling services, Muñoz said his goal is to build on what is already here and fill in the gaps by collecting beyond the limits of the other facilities. Muñoz said he and the city of Roswell are the only ones offering household recycling.
The city of Roswell offers recycling services by providing nine roll-off containers at various locations around town and also takes large recyclable items such as tires, cardboard, scrap metal, and tree branches and wood materials. The city’s sanitation department, located at 3006 W. Brasher Road, collects the following from the green roll-offs and it’s picked up from the landfill by Friedman Recycling Company in Albuquerque: aluminum and tin cans, cardboard (except for frozen-food containers), newspaper, office paper, books and magazines, and plastic (No. 1 and No. 2).
The Roswell Recycling Center and New Mexico Recycling Coalition take metals and other materials.
Sam Martinez signed up for the service in June because J&A Recycling offers more options for recycling and putting his bin in front of his house saves him a trip to the nearest roll-off. Martinez said he and his wife use bottled water for their morning coffee and since using the service, he is more aware of the amount he is using.
“After say a month or so, we probably have … at least two to three cases, so you’re looking at about 120, 140 bottles,” Martinez said. “So it adds up and if everybody else doesn’t recycle, just think of the number of bottles that are just going into the landfill.”
Muñoz said one of the top questions he is asked is whether he makes a profit off the recycling or the service. He said there is “not money made in recycling right now,” since most facilities only buy aluminum.
Muñoz also plans to reach out to youth to recycle now, so they can continue as adults. Muñoz said he is willing to offer his services to educate on recycling. He plans on working with large-scale events and schools. He said he donated bins for recycling opportunities at the Walk for Hope in May.
In attending events around Roswell, Muñoz has seen trashcans set up without any recycling opportunities. He said tourists often question why there are no recycling bins.
“When it comes to recycling, just make sure you’re playing your part,” Muñoz said. “People here need to understand that it’s not for the moment. It’s for the future. That’s what it’s for — it’s not for us. It’s for our children, our grandchildren, so forth. That’s the main thing and that’s a problem with society today is we live in the moment. We don’t live for the future and we have to look for the future, because without our future we have nothing …”
For more information, J&A Recycling’s website is curbsiderecyclenm.com, and Muñoz can be reached at 575-626-4143.
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.