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Phoenix rolling out new programs to increase recycling participation rates

(KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix will soon unveil new programs designed to increase the number of residents that partake in recycling.

Lucas Mariacher, the zero-waste coordinator for the Phoenix Public Works Department, said the city is thinking of new ways to reduce waste.

“There’s a lot of textiles – like our clothing – which is a problem,” he said. “So we’re going to create a textile-recycling program.”

But that’s not the only idea on the board.

“We have a compost facility opening up,” Mariacher said. “About 25 to 30 percent of what’s in our waste stream is compostable materials.”

The city is also implementing a program called RecycleBank that offers incentives to residents.

“If you sign up online, you get points based on what you’re recycling curbside,” Mariacher said. “You also get points for reading articles and taking actions online. Then you can use those points in local restaurants, or for local gift cards, or even national rewards.”

Phoenix hopes to have about 40 percent of the city participating in recycling programs by 2040. It still has a long way to go to meet that goal.

“We’re at 20 percent [recycling participation] right now,” Mariacher said.

Mariacher said the goal will be tougher to reach because the city cannot offer recycling services at apartment complexes and restaurants.

The city of Phoenix has said it wants to be zero-waste by 2050.

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