Did Tucson Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle the Program Away?


Azalia Munoz, Senior Spotlight Editor

Unfortunately, the blue bins Tucsonans have used for many decades may be of no more use. Sharp financial declines has caused the recycling program to suffer greatly, so much so that officials believe it may have to shut down until the market recovers either nationally or globally.

This began with the Chinese “crackdown” on glass and paper recycling industries; since this introduction 18 months ago, the program has declined rapidly. Tucson’s expected recycling-program loss for fiscal year 2018-19 is now $3.3 million, six times what its Environmental Services Department predicted last summer. Discussions about raising the homeowners fee for recycling has been proposed to help gather money for the recycling program, and collections of the recycling around the city has also been spoken of. The otherwise recycled materials, will be added to the already filling landfills.

Controversy surrounding climate change and global warming has always been a hot topic, and some argue that the reduction (and possible depletion) of the program will contribute to that. The reduction of waste is a hot topic when the “what can I do?” question pops up. In cities like Phoenix and Flagstaff, they already have recyclables going to landfills – Tucson can be next.

Most officials are not happy with this situation, including the mayor. Mayor Rothschild says, “I want to be really cautious and really give it a lot of thought before we jump into anything.” Many people are unhappy with this situation, considering some even helped to launch the program over 40 years ago. “It breaks my heart,” said Garcia, a retired urban planning professor.

The final verdict has not yet been announced, but many discussions are being held within the counsel leaving many Tucsonans wondering what the future will hold.