TUCSON, AZ - Tucson's trash is China's treasure.
A Chinese company has entered a deal in which it will buy all of the city's recycled paper goods, the Arizona Daily Star reported Sunday.
America Chung Nam Inc., or ACNI, said it will export up to 100 containers to collect junk mail, cardboard boxes, newspapers and other recyclables. According to the company, the Port of Tucson's designation as a dry seaport means they can directly ship containers by rail from Tucson to California. From there, they will be placed on ocean vessels bound for China.
Edde Yeung, senior vice-president of logistics and planning for ACNI, said the company can use wastepaper to manufacture newsprint and printing and writing paper.
Tucson officials say the deal marks a significant economic development for the region.
Stefan Baumann, director of business development for the Port of Tucson, said 300 to 400 containers could potentially be exported in one week.
"The problem -- which is a great problem to have -- is we need to produce more empty containers for them" to fill, Baumann said.
In addition, importers who go through Tucson rather than hauling goods by truck from Los Angeles can accumulate between 15 to 25 percent savings in transportation.
"We are replacing a truck round trip with a rail one-way trip. It's going to change the landscape," Baumann said. "Now we are like the Los Angeles port, but dry."
The deal stemmed from a relationship already in place between ACNI and ReCommunity, the company that buys the city's recycling. Will Herzog, a ReCommunity head of regional business development, said ACNI does work at its other U.S. facilities. In Tucson, the company ships 2,500 tons of paper and cardboard each month, he said.