In Phoenix, large blue bins are used for curbside recycling.

Phoenix Officials Add a Few More ‘Rs’ to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Mantra

When it comes to waste, most people are familiar with the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. But the City of Phoenix is adding two more to the mix: reconsider and reimagine.

Phoenix officials want residents and businesses alike to think about their trash as possible treasure, or at least an alternative to the landfill.

In fact, the City of Phoenix wants you to take a pledge to honor the “Reimagine Phoenix” campaign, which began in 2013. When you take the pledge, you’re asked to list ways you can personally and professionally help the city reach its goal to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by 40 percent by the year 2020. Some examples might include composting at home, or powering down your computer at the end of the work day.

How else can you do your part? First, learn what is and what isn’t recyclable.

What to Recycle

Phoenix residents can recycle the following items via the city’s municipal waste streams by placing them in the blue barrels that go out with the trash.

  • Plastic: All hard plastic containers, such as milk jugs, beverage bottles and detergent containers, with or without caps.
  • Paper: Includes cardboard, newspaper, magazines and shredded paper (when placed in clear plastic bags).
  • Glass: Bottles, jars and any glass containers that once contained food or drinks.
  • Metal: Includes aluminum cans, empty aerosol cans and even small metal appliances. Paint, pesticides and oven cleaners that came in metal containers cannot be recycled in the municipal stream.

If you’re unsure or have questions about what to recycle, you can call the Phoenix Public Works Department at (602) 262-7251.

For recyclable items that can’t be put out with the trash, Phoenix has a few other initiatives under way, including household hazardous waste removal events and partnerships for plastic bag recycling.

Where to Dispose of Hazardous Waste

Some items, such as car batteries, tires and electronics are potential hazards and can’t be recycled via residential waste streams. Hazardous waste items are accepted several times throughout the year at the City of Phoenix Public Works’ household hazardous waste events.

The events are offered for Phoenix residents only, who must show proof of residency to donate materials, according to the city.

The next household hazardous waste event is 8 a.m.–noon Feb. 27–March 1 at the Arizona State Fair Grounds, 20th Avenue lot. Check out the full schedule of 2014 household hazardous waste and electronics collection events, as well as a complete list of acceptable HHW items, on the city’s website.

Where to Recycle Plastic Bags

The Clean Air Council says Americans use more than 102 billion plastic bags each year. Traditional plastic bags are not biodegradable, and they must be recycled separately, as they can cause damage to the processing machines, according to the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance.

The alliance created Bag Central Station in 2007, which gives Phoenix shoppers a place to recycle plastic bags. Look for the Bag Central Station bins at Phoenix-area grocery stores and large retailers to drop off and recycle your bags. The program extends to many area suburbs, including Avondale and Tempe.

To learn about more ways you can help Phoenix become a greener city, including a plan to reward those who consistently throw away less trash, visit Reimagine Phoenix.

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