Plastic bags… Garden hoses… Used Clothing… Dirty Diapers… Tree trimmings… What do these things have in common? They are all contaminants regularly found in Tucson’s blue barrels and at the recycling facility. And, they are not part of our recycling program.
In a recent survey, Environmental Services (ES) found that approximately 90% of Tucsonans regularly set out their blue barrel for recycling. That is a great participation rate! Unfortunately, 20% of the material put in blue barrels is not recyclable.
There are good reasons why you should make sure you are recycling properly. Contamination, especially food, yard waste, and dirty diapers can completely ruin a truck load of recyclables. The local recycling processor sells the recyclables and divides the profits with the City. Those revenues help ES offset a portion of collection costs and keep rates stable for our customers. ES residential collection rates have not been increased for 4 years!
Aside from the economic reasons, remember that the recyclables are sorted by a combination of people and machinery. Some of the things that go through the plant are nasty to handle and potentially harmful to the health and safety of the workers. There have been a few cases of things like syringe needles going through the facility causing workers to be stuck. This is both scary and dangerous.
Recycling is a positive for Tucson. It helps us conserve resources, extend the life of the landfill, reduce our carbon footprint, and it is economically beneficial for our City and customers alike. It’s also really easy, so take a look at the list online at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/residential-recycling or call Customer Service at 791-3171 to request a list be mailed to you. Recycle it Right.