Policy memo urges improvements of AZ’s recycling program

Small flyer with info on AZ recycling program

In September 2020, five graduate students affiliated with the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes published a memo addressing how to reinvigorate recycling in Arizona through state-level policy reform.

By interviewing recycling coordinators from across the state, they found that most municipalities have been forced to alter their programs due to changing international markets and a lack of state-level support. Despite these challenges, interviewees view an investment in the recycling sector as an opportunity to improve the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of their community.

Infographic on AZ recycling program
Click on the image to see it enlarged.

In response to these challenges, the authors identified three ways Arizona policy-makers can reinvigorate recycling in Arizona:

(1) Over the last 11 years, the governor and legislature have diverted money raised through the solid waste landfill disposal fees away from the recycling fund. This program should be fully funded to allow cities to maintain and innovate their programs.

(2) We should repeal the state policy, which prohibits municipalities from developing their own legislation for auxiliary containers. Municipalities and their constituents pay for solid waste management, but this sweeping regulation has prohibited municipalities from implementing policies that would significantly reduce their costs.

(3) We should incentivize end-markets in the state of Arizona. Currently, we are paying to send our valuable materials to other states and countries. By encouraging businesses who process or use recycled materials to expand in our state, we could use the recyclables we produce locally to create a local industry.

To support this effort, please sign this petition asking the state to fund the recycling program.


This memo was written by ASU graduate students Erin Murphy, Miranda Bernard, Levi Helm, Infynity Hill, and Alex Tunas-Corzon. For more information, contact Erin.