Phoenix residents hear a lot about what they should be putting in their blue curbside recycling bins, and for good reason — the city recycles less than most other large cities in the country.

Phoenix has a goal to increase its citywide waste-diversion rate, the portion of its trash that gets recycled, composted or doesn’t end up in a landfill, to 40 percent by 2020. But the city remains far from that.

The city’s waste-diversion rate was 20 percent in 2015, Roeder said. In other large cities, the rate ranges from about 76 percent in Los Angeles to 18 percent in San Antonio, according to a 2011-12 survey conducted by UCLA. Nationally, the average is around 34 percent, though cities measure some aspects differently.

Residents can help Phoenix improve its rate by recycling the right things: plastic bottles with the caps on; empty beverage cans; newspaper, junk mail and copy paper; plastic jugs; food jars; glass bottles; food cans; and cardboard and cartons.

But avoiding putting the wrong things in those bins can be just as important.

Here are 16 things that many people throw in the recycle without knowing that they shouldn’t be (some may surprise you!):

  1. Shopping bags
  2. Pizza boxes
  3. Pet food bags
  4. Plastic trash bags
  5. Clothing and textiles
  6. Styrofoam
  7. Diapers
  8. Wire hangers
  9. Grass clippings
  10. Junk-food wrappers
  11. Plastic sandwich bags
  12. Paper towels and napkins
  13. Batteries
  14. Plastic straws
  15. Electronics
  16. Car parts

When it comes to recycling in Phoenix, putting the right items in blue curbside bins can be just as critical as recycling in the first place.

Throwing the wrong materials, such as plastic shopping bags and greasy food containers, in those bins costs the city money — to the tune of about $1 million extra per year, according to the Public Works Department.

Non-recyclables or contaminants that end up in the recycling stream have to be sorted out, which slows the process. They can also damage expensive equipment at the city’s recycling plant.

Contaminated recycling makes it harder for the city to reach its lofty goal: to increase to 40 percent by 2020 the portion of trash that gets recycled, composted, or doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Currently, the city only diverts about 20 percent of its trash from the landfill. Nationally, the average is about 34 percent.

Residents can help Phoenix improve its rate by recycling the right things: plastic bottles with the caps on; empty beverage cans; newspaper, junk mail and copy paper; plastic jugs; food jars; glass bottles; food cans; and cardboard and cartons.

But Phoenix officials say the trick isn’t just getting Phoenicians to recycle more. They also need to recycle better. Contaminated recycling is a serious problem — almost a quarter of what ends up in city curbside bins isn’t recyclable.

Find a recycling drop-off bin

Phoenix has begun placing large recycling drop-off bins, dubbed “ECO Stations,” in parks throughout the city. A city spokeswoman said all the blue containers will be in place by the end of March.

  • Deer Valley Park-19602 N. 19th Ave.
  • Paradise Valley -17642 N. 40th St.
  • Sweetwater Park-13230 N. 44th Place.
  • Steele Park -300 E. Indian School Road.
  • Washington Park -6655 N. 23rd Ave.
  • Pecos Park -17010 S. 48th St.
  • Desert West -6602 W. Encanto Blvd.
  • Esteban Park-3345 E. Roeser Road.

Get rewards for recycling

The city has partnered with RecycleBank, an eco-friendly marketing company, to launch a custom app and website to teach residents how to recycle correctly.

Think of it like a frequent-flier program, but for recycling. Users create an account and earn points, which can be redeemed for prizes, by putting their blue bins at the curb, learning about recycling and encouraging others to do the same.

The app launched in January. So far, about 37,200 residents have signed up.

Points earned through Recyclebank can be traded in for prizes such as gift cards, magazine subscriptions and discounts at retailers and restaurants. To sign up and start earning points, visit https://www.recyclebank.com/home/.

 

The Republic | azcentral.com – Dustin Gardiner July 1, 2017

Images credit: Getty Images

 

 

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Calvin Lickfelt

REALTOR®, Team Leader

"Client-First" - We believe that if you are not left with an amazing experience, we have not done our job. We do not measure success through achievements or awards, but through the satisfaction of each and every client. We take great pride in the relationships we have built...

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