Why are AZ cities moving away from recycling?


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What can really be recycled? And if you recycle something that can not be recycled does it really matter? Some cities are beginning to cut the recycling program altogether. 

In Arizona both Surprise and Casa Grande has completely stopped the recycling program. In addition, Tucson, Glendale, and Mesa all cutting back on the number of days it picks up the recycling and what type of plastics they are accepting. Even the city of Phoenix, along with Peoria, is upgrading its sorting equipment.

This is all due to people’s inability to recycle the correct items.

This fact, paired with the tariffs that have been set and the new rules in China further limiting what discarded materials can be imported, the cheap cost of transporting and sorting in China isn’t so cheap anymore. 

Altogether China has stopped accepting Americas’ recycling because of the incapability to recycle the proper items. 

According to an Azcentral article, it costs on average anywhere between $20 and $90 to recycle and Phoenix alone recycles 167,000 tons of recycled products a year. With the added tariffs recycling is costing more money than its making, cutting into the reserve funds. 

The recycling program here at Perry is no different. Caroline Cook is in charge of the recycling program and she says, “I see a lot of trash such as tissues, plastic bags, and paper towels.” There is a lack of what can be properly recycled even at Perry. “All the time I see non-recyclable items, everytime we collect the recycle there is some sort of trash” Cooks adds. 

This supports the issue at hand: there is a lack of recycling the correct items throughout the environment which will lead to stopping the recycling program altogether. “The most common item I see while recycling that can’t be recycled is Ziplock bags and paper towels” Cook continues, “When we see non-recyclable items, it does affect the process. Some of the kids take the time to sort it out.” 

There are simple steps that can be taken to help this issue, and possibly even help solve the problem. With all the trash mixed in, the question is whether or not recycling is even worth collecting anymore. 

There are many grey lines when it comes to what can and cannot be recycled, but it boils down to the basics: paper, cardboard, and plastic. Things to never recycle: plastic bags, hazardous materials, and anything that can get tangled. It is important to know what should and should not be recycled, because that knowledge may ultimately save the environment.