- The Phoenix City Council's Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee has recommended the approval of three contracts to help increase the city's diversion rate, as reported by KJZZ. The first would pay Green Sheen Paint & Design $3.50 per gallon of paint recycled, as compared to the $5 per gallon the city currently pays. This would cost up to $168,000 over three years, with the option for renewals.
- The second contract would be with GIS Consulting for the free collection of approximately 100 tons of carpeting and carpet foam. The company would use it to make insulation and concrete products during a six-month pilot program, with the option for renewals.
- The third is with Edgewood Lumber and Sawmill to process up to 130 tons of tree trunks and stumps for free during a three year contract with the option for renewals. The company has offered to provide some of the wood to shop classes for high school students.
Phoenix continues to be innovative in its efforts to achieve 40% landfill diversion by 2020 and has a lot of ground to cover from a reported 20% diversion rate in 2015. So far this push has included expanding a city rewards program with Recyclebank, deploying new recycling drop-off stations in areas without curbside access and focusing on other specific areas of the waste stream such as palm fronds.
The city has also proven receptive to new ideas that may come from outside the industry by partnering with technology companies and local students to get their input. Based at Arizona State University, the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network is in the midst of multiple projects focusing on organics recovery, waste reduction, emissions and a number of other areas. Phoenix has also partnered with Cisco Systems and others for a "hackathon" that will culminate at an event next month to generate ideas for the city's Public Works Department.
While Arizona doesn't currently have any extended producer responsibility laws, its capital city's interest in diverting categories such as paint and carpeting shows that this can still be done on a local level. With all of the material from these three contracts set to be processed in Phoenix, this also presents an opportunity for the city to begin expanding toward a circular economy model.