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Phoenix Could Offer Curbside Household Hazardous Waste Pickup

cars lined up and people waiting to collect items
Phoenix Public Works
editorial | contributor
A household hazardous materials collection event in Phoenix before COVID-19.

The pandemic led the city’s public works department to come up with a new way for Phoenix residents to get rid of hazardous materials.

Before COVID-19, Phoenix would hold nine events throughout the year to collect household hazardous waste — like chemicals, paint and things that might be flammable or explosive. Each event averaged 750 cars.

During the pandemic, Phoenix moved to a drop-off model — residents have to drive to three different locations, depending on the materials. Joe Giudice, the city’s public works director, said significantly fewer people are using the service. 

“We’re now in the range of 150 per month and, of course, it concerns us if these chemicals are being stored in people’s garages, sheds, backyards, or potentially being put in the solid waste stream," Giudice said. 

He said the department would like to offer a curbside pickup and described a pilot program to the city’s infrastructure and innovation subcommittee on Dec. 2.

“When you would call to schedule we would confirm the materials that you have and we would select the date that we would schedule for that pickup and then we would have a reminder to you a day or two before that as well,” he said.

Giudice estimated the city would handle about 60 collection requests each weekday or about 1,200 per month. He suggested that Phoenix contract with Kary Environmental Services, which handles home pickups for Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria and Prescott.

On Dec. 16, the Phoenix City Council is expected to vote on a six-month curbside pilot program. If approved people could start scheduling pickups in mid-January. There would be no additional cost to residents. The drop-off option will still be available.

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