As recycling revenues waste away in U.S. cities due to fewer international buyers of recyclables and higher standards for clean materials, many providers are struggling to maintain services to residents. Phoenix is one of those cities whose solid waste program has felt economic pressures.
After 10 years of no increase to its monthly base rate of $26.80 per household, the city says it can’t keep providing the same level of services without a hike. Now the city is inviting residents to weigh in on four proposed solutions. [Republic Services, with serves Anthem east-side customers, has no plans now for rate changes.]
The need for change was introduced by the public works department at a city council meeting in November. Revenue from the sale of recyclables was $12 million in fiscal year 2011-12, plummeting to $6 million in 2018-19 and projected to be under $4 million this year.
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City staff said an increase is needed also to offset inflation and population growth. Without a $6.40 per month hike, the city says it would be forced to cut $36.5 million in services, which could include reducing weekly recycling pickup to every other week, elimination of its bulk trash program and household hazardous waste events, closing its compost facility and one recycling facility, resulting in an overall loss of 135 staff positions.
Four options are being considered, and residents are invited to weigh in on them via a survey (see link below).
Option 1 Maintain current service levels and increase the solid waste residential rate to $33.20, up $6.40 per month.
Option 2 Suspend the city’s compost program by eliminating curbside green organics collection and terminating operations of the compost facility for all customers, and raise the solid waste residential rate to $32.45, up $5.65 per month.
Option 3 Pick up residential recycle containers every other week instead of weekly, reducing staff and equipment required. Under this option the solid waste residential rate would rise to $32.30, up $5.50 per month.
Option 4 Suspend the recycling and compost programs by eliminating curbside green organics collection and terminating operations of the compost facility for all customers. All refuse would be collected as trash and sent to the landfill for disposal. This option would increase the solid waste residential rate to $31.55, up $4.75 per month.
3 Ways to Weigh in
1 Participate in an online survey regarding the options: www.surveymonkey.com/r/trashandrecycle
2 Email comments to email@example.com, or call 602-262-6824.
3 Attend a Community Waste Rate Change Meeting
6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23
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Call or text 623-297-2557 to learn more.