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Trash Director To Phoenix Leaders: 'We Hear You Loud And Clear'

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
A Phoenix subcommittee listens to Public Works Director Ginger Spencer and Housing Director Cindy Stotler share information about recycling at city-owned housing complexes.

Phoenix has three years before its self-imposed deadline to divert 40 percent of trash from landfills. Currently, the city’s diversion rate is 20 percent. To meet its goal, Phoenix will need more buy-in from apartment complexes.

During Tuesday’s Phoenix Housing Subcommittee meeting, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela said, “We have to find a way to get this done.” 

“We hear you loud and clear,” said Ginger Spencer, director of the city’s Public Works Department.

Phoenix does not require apartment complexes to provide recycling services, and most do not. Nearly one in three Phoenix residents lives in an apartment. Spencer said her staff will spend the summer working with the Arizona Multifamily Housing Association. 

“Part of the challenge not only with the constant turnover with residents as well as sometimes with property management is also infrastructure limitations,” she said.

The city’s Public Works and Housing departments are also trying to increase recycling at city-owned apartment complexes. Right now, less than half of the city’s 40 properties offer recycling services. Those that do, have diversion rates below the national average. 

Housing Director Cindy Stotler shared recycling experiences at some city properties. “It’s heavily reliant on communication with the community. And it’s ongoing and constant education. You can’t let it lapse because of the turnover that you have and sometimes residents will fail to the see the incentives, and they will lapse back into old habits,” she said.  

Stotler told subcommittee members that she is hopeful the Housing and Public Works Departments can come up with a way to expand recycling collections at public-housing locations.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.