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ADEQ plans June meetings across state to get public input on solid waste plan

In September 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded a recycling grant of $700,000 to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The funding goes toward the development of a Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan, which the public can now provide input on.

The existing plan needs updates, according to J.B. Shaw, the recycling coordinator with ADEQ.

“It's a few decades old, so it really just talks more about managing things properly by land filling. It really excludes a lot of source reduction, reuse and recycling, which is what we're hoping to address in the new plan," he said.

The first public input meetings will be held this month across Tucson, Flagstaff and Phoenix.

“Public input is going to be extremely important because we need to know what are the challenges that cities, counties, tribes, nonprofits, academia and the private sector are facing when it comes to solid waste," he said.

Shaw says the known challenges with solid waste include items like tires, wasted food and mattresses. He says the goal involves moving Arizona to a circular economy, a sustainable model meant to reduce waste.

More information on the public and virtual meetings can be found on the department’s website or social media accounts.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.