Q&AZ: Why Don’t More Apartment Complexes Offer Recycling?

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 5:28pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 1:06pm
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Most apartment and condo complexes in the Valley don’t offer recycling services, and KJZZ listener John Swift asked why via Q&AZ.

In Phoenix, city ordinance restricts municipalities from collecting recyclables at apartment and condo complexes with more than 30 units, which means landlords would have to hire a private recycling collector.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t track the percentage of apartments and condos that don’t offer recycling, but they do know the impact.

“When those materials end up in the landfill, that’s just a loss of a resource we could use in the recycling market,” said J.B. Shaw, recycling coordinator for AZDEQ. “$1.4 billion of recyclables were landfilled in the last year.”

Shaw said if you live in a Phoenix apartment and want to recycle, you’re probably going to have to take matters — and recyclables — into your own hands.

“There are parks throughout the city and they've placed things called eco-stations,” he said. “Then they can collect it in their apartment but then take it to the nearby park for recycling in those bins.”

Shaw said the city purposefully placed the eight eco-stations near apartment complexes, and recyclables can also be dropped off at one of two transfer stations.

In the last fiscal year, the city of Phoenix had a 33 percent diversion rate and a 2015 data analysis found Phoenix had one of the lowest urban recycling rates in the country. That same year the legislature adopted a law banning cities from requiring apartments and complexes to offer recycling.

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