Tucson, Ariz. -- Larger bins and a single-stream system have bumped Tucson’s recycling rate from 9 percent to 26 percent. The City of Tucson’s Solid Waste Management Department began distributing the large blue barrels to residences in July 2002. The city previously required residents to sort items themselves, but the new materials recovery facility (MRF), owned by Recycle America and Waste Management Inc. (WMI), Houston, does it for them.
The city also accepts more materials in the blue barrels than it did under the green bin program, when recyclables were picked up every two weeks. Now, weekly pickups allow for phone books, Styrofoam, mail, milk cartons and paperboard, in addition to traditional items. Recycling advocates hope the blue barrels program will be applied to multi-unit residences and businesses in the future.