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Business Tools: Waste Reduction and Recycling

Most businesses spend a lot of money getting rid of their garbage. Businesses can significantly reduce their hauling costs by reducing the amount of waste they produce. Businesses that reduce waste are regarded more favorably by customers, the public, and their own employees. Businesses that make a conscious effort to reduce waste motivate people and other businesses to do the same. 

Conduct a waste audit of your business to determine what kind of waste you are generating and throwing away. Next, look for ways to reduce the amount of waste you are generating, integrate recycling into your operations, and create zero waste loops.

Explore the information on this page for strategies on how your business can reduce waste and recycle.


Land Development

The City of Tucson regulates new development on or near landfills within the City limits that could be a source of methane gas. The regulations in the City Code pertaining to development near landfills follow Article IX, Chapter 29 of the Tucson Code. The purpose of this article is to protect the public health and safety, to promote disclosure of relevant information concerning landfills to future property owners in the vicinity of designated landfills and to promote informed and responsible development of property which is on or near designated landfills.


Building Construction

The building construction process can be a great generator of waste or it can be a great contributor to the recycling market. By planning ahead, you can implement construction waste reduction strategies, recycle debris, and include recycled materials into the building design. Consider items such as used and refurbished doors or carpet made out of recycled plastic bottles.


City of Tucson Environmental Services Department

Provides Tucson citizens and businesses with refuse collection and disposal 

City of Tucson Commercial Recycling Collection Service

Recycling service costs less than garbage service, and may reduce your needs for garbage service.

Pima County Department of Environmental Quality

Recycling information for Pima County.

Recycling Arizona

Information about recycling in Arizona.

EPA Materials and Waste Exchanges

Materials and waste exchanges are markets for buying and selling reusable and recyclable commodities. This website provides a state-by-state listing of waste exchanges in your area.

Environmental Protection Agency Region 9: Waste Programs

Disposing of construction and demolition (C&D) debris misuses valuable resources and shortens the life of landfills.

Toolbase Services

Technologies for building and construction professionals including construction waste management and recycled products.

RecyclingMarkets gives you access to North America's Most Comprehensive searchable database of more than 17,000 companies involved in the Recycling Process throughout the USA and Canada. This database is divided into the following two sections: recycling markets and recycled products.


Purchasing and Operations

Integrating waste reduction and recycling strategies into your purchasing and operational procedures streamlines practices and saves you money. Develop a procurement policy that includes buying recycled products so they can be purchased in bulk. Make waste reduction part of your business and save money on waste management.


7 Steps to Start a Business Waste Reduction Program (from Mecklenburg County, NC)
Waste reduction includes recycling, reuse and waste prevention (preventing waste from happening in the first place). Employees can prevent large amounts of waste each day by making informed choices. The following steps will help your business implement a waste reduction program.

City of Tucson Commercial/Business Recycling Program

Explore the services the City provides and how they can help you reduce waste.

Pima Co./Tucson Small Business Waste Assistance Program

The Small Business Waste Assistance Program (SBWAP) provides a safe and affordable disposal/recycling option for your business. SBWAP is part of the City of Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste Program and is operated by the City of Tucson.


Arizona Department of Environmental (ADEQ) Quality Recycling Grants and Projects

When funding is available, ADEQ helps funds educational and technical solutions for recycling.

Tucson Clean and Beautiful

    Recycling and waste reduction education programs and recycling directory.

    RISE Equipment Recycling Center
    RISE recycles and refurbishes computers and other goods. RISE donates or sells the equipment at a reduced price to non-profit organizations, their clients, and low income families and children.

    EPA WasteWise Program

    Waste reduction makes good business sense because it can save your organization money through reduced purchasing and waste disposal costs. WasteWise provides free technical assistance to help you develop, implement, and measure your waste reduction activities. WasteWise offers publicity to organizations that are successful in reducing waste through EPA publications,case studies, and national and regional events. These events also provide networking opportunities for organizations to share waste reduction ideas and success stories.

    Global Recycling Network

    An electronic information exchange that specializes in the trade of recyclables reclaimed in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) streams, as well as the marketing of eco-friendly products.

    RecyclingMarkets gives you access to North America's Most Comprehensive searchable database of more than 17,000 companies involved in the Recycling Process throughout the USA and Canada. This database is divided into the following two sections: recycling markets and recycled products.



    Engaging your employees is an important piece of the waste reduction process. Employee efforts to reduce consumption and waste will drive the success of your waste reduction plan. Below are some strategies to include in your waste reduction plan.

    As an employee, you have the ability to make a positive contribution to your workplace by showing leadership in adopting the following waste reduction practices. Get your colleagues on board and celebrate your successes!


    Use less paper. There are a number of strategies for reducing paper use. Monitor how much money you save each year by making these simple changes:

    • Make sure default printer settings are set for duplex printing. You’ll use half the paper by printing on both sides!

    • There’s more space on the page than you may think. Common computer default settings are 12-point font and 1.25-inch margins. Try using 11-point type and 1-inch or 0.5-inch margins. These changes can fit up to 27% more information comfortably on a page.

    • Create a template to print stickers for faxes instead of fax cover sheets. Place a sticker on the first page of your fax and save a page on every fax!

    • Purchase recycled office paper. Look for post-consumer content (30% or more is good), which means that the original

    • Establish a bulletin board for office memos, announcements, and notices. Instead of printing a copy for every employee, post one copy on the bulletin board.

    • Go paperless whenever possible. Issue memos and notices via email whenever possible and avoid printing documents unless you really need a hard copy.

    • Reuse envelopes by placing a new address label over the old one.

      Reuse office items. Create a reuse program to encourage employees to reuse perfectly good office products that are often tossed, such as folders, paper clips, and binders.

      Stop using throw-aways. There are plenty of reusable items that can be used in the office. Stock your kitchen or lounge with glasses, metal utensils, and dishes. Stock your supply closet with mechanical pencils (and lead refills), refillable pens, and rewritable discs.

      Conserve printer toner. There are many ways to get the most out of each toner cartridge: remove and gently rock the toner cartridge when it’s running low—you may get many more prints out of it; set printing options to “draft” which uses less toner; don’t contribute to the millions of cartridges that are thrown away each year—buy toner from a supplier that will reuse and recycle empty cartridges.