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Mesa decreases items accepted in recycling program

(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa)

PHOENIX — The city of Mesa has adjusted its recycling program in an effort to offset rising costs and contamination.

Mesa has limited recycling to four categories — beverage bottles, metal food cans, cardboard and paper.

Items such as laundry and shampoo bottles, food containers and cereal boxes will no longer be accepted, Mariano Reyes with Mesa’s environmental management and sustainability department told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

“The reason why we have simplified this list is to maintain the sustainability of the recycling program,” Reyes said.

Reyes said the city is expected to lose about $1.4 million during this fiscal year because of the recycling program.

Mesa lost about $480,000 during the 2018-19 fiscal year, the first time the city didn’t turn a profit on the program.

In 2016-17, the program made the city approximately $800,000, according to Reyes.

He said the items that are still recyclable were kept because they continue to have a strong market demand.

“The program is costing us now because we’re not recovering the same amount of money anymore…it’s an expenditure,” Reyes said.

Reyes said the city has started to notify residents about the change, and that there would be a transition period while residents become familiar with the adjusted program.

Surprise suspended its recycling program in August to avoid a rate increase for residents and to provide time to evaluate options.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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