Most Nogales Recyclables End Up In Landfills

By Matt Kling
Published: Monday, February 18, 2019 - 1:20pm
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2019 - 1:21pm

Residents in Nogales, Arizona, are the latest to find out that there’s little use in separating their recyclables from their trash, as most of the city’s recyclable materials now head to a landfill.

Nogales has a contract with Tucson Recycling and Waste, which processes and transports the city’s recycling. But higher costs and demands from the company’s partners have led to most recyclables being sent to a landfill.

Kurt Wahl is the general manager of Tucson Recycling and Waste. He said China, which is the destination for a large amount of recyclables, has put new restrictions on imported materials, because of contamination:

“So a lot of the stuff that’s getting sent to the ports is being refused," Wahl said, "because China won’t take it. When that started happening, then it was just a domino effect back and places back here stopped taking it.”

Wahl said the company continues to sort and sell metal recyclables but still loses money because of the higher cost to process and transport the metal goods.