Tucson Considers Ending Its Recycling Program

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, March 25, 2019 - 10:06am
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Citing sharply escalating financial losses in the recycling program, Tucson officials say the city might have to stop taking glass bottles and newspapers until markets recover.

China was the leading buyer of U.S. recyclables for more than 25 years. But 18 months ago, the country banned certain imports, citing environmental concerns.

With no buyer for these products, Tucson said they expect their recycling program to lose $3.3 million for fiscal year 2018-19.

That's six times what the city's Environmental Services Department predicted last summer.

Proposals to save the recycling program include increasing monthly recycling fees for homeowners from 45 cents to 75 cents  or scaling down collections from weekly to twice monthly.

In cities across the U.S., including Phoenix and Flagstaff, many recyclables are already going to landfills.

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