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City of Tucson to cut back on recycling program to save costs

Posted at 7:49 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 16:13:07-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The City of Tucson plans to change its recycling program in an effort to cut back on costs.

Starting Sept. 30, the city is shifting to an every other week recycling pickup schedule. The move is expected to save the city $1.4 million a year.

Right now, recycling costs the city $3.4 million each year.

City Council Member Steve Kozachik says part of the problem is the international market has shifted, and the city loses money recycling glass and paper.

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Another reason is about a third of what people try to recycle is contaminated, and ends up in landfill.

Kozachik says the change to bi-weekly pickup shouldn't have a big impact on residents.

"What we found is that most of time, the vast majority of the time, when we pick up the containers, they're less than half full with the weekly pickup," Kozachik said. "So going to every other week does not mean people are going to be stockpiling recycling in their kitchen waiting for the next week. It's simply that we're going to be picking up fuller loads."

Kozachik says the challenge with the change will be remembering which pickup week is yours.

The every other week pickup is just one solution the city is exploring. In the future, Kozachik says the council may look into raising recycling rates, which haven't increased in a decade. Another option is using alley recycling, where a group of neighbors share one bin to make routes more efficient.

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