Reusable shopping bags stuffed with plastic water bottles and cardboard food boxes fill the trunk of Laura Ory's sedan and crowd her kitchen. When the clutter gets unbearable, she drives 15 minutes to dump it in her grandmother's curbside recycling bin.
Like many Phoenix residents who live in an apartment complex, Ory doesn't have recycling bins. An ordinance passed decades ago prohibits the city from picking up recycling at most multifamily residential or commercial buildings, and her landlord doesn't pay a private waste company to do it either.
City officials can't say for sure why the ban on some city-sponsored recycling was passed, but Phoenix's longest-serving elected official believes it was meant to prevent the city from competing with private waste companies.