Talking trash: Phoenix working to reduce waste this summer

Posted at 6:52 AM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 09:52:22-04

Phoenix city leaders will meet with apartment owners, management companies and other stakeholders this summer to increase recycling options for residents.

The focus is part of an effort to divert 40% of waste in the city from landfills by 2020. Right now, the city diverts 20% -- trailing the national average of 34%.

"The thing that makes Phoenix unique is that everything we do is on a voluntarily basis," Public Works Director Ginger Spencer told ABC15. "We don't legislate. We don't have any mandates, fees or fines," when it comes to requiring apartments to offer recycling options, she said.

An estimated 470,000 Phoenicians live in an apartment community, and Spencer says the department will be looking at ways to incentivize older properties to offer recycling.

By 2050, the city hopes to completely eliminate waste.

"It's an aggressive goal," Spencer admits. With the opening of a new compost facility, she expects diverted waste to rise to the thirtieth percentile by next year.