TUCSON, Ariz. – The City of Tucson’s Environmental and General Services Department (EGSD) has launched The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street cart tagging recycling initiative —a community wide initiative to improve the quality of recycling in single-stream curbside recycling bins by providing residents personalized and real-time curbside recycling education and feedback. This new initiative will help the City achieve its 50% waste reduction by 2030 and zero waste by 2050 goal outlined in the Climate Emergency Declaration passed by Mayor and Council last Fall.
The Feet on the Street program is intended to increase the amount of quality recyclables – items that are accepted for recycling that are empty and dry, so they can circulate back into the recycling system to become new products or packaging. Developed by the circular economy national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership, this program helps communities achieve economically efficient recycling programs, reduces the number of new resources used in packaging, and improves the health of communities.
“After reducing and reusing, recycling is one of the best ways to decrease waste locally,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Recycling properly reduces the extraction of raw materials to produce new goods and enables our community to participate in local solutions to combat climate change. Through the Feet on the Street Campaign, we are providing personalized, real-time feedback to enhance local recycling efforts. Together we can work towards our zero waste by 2050 goal.”
Included in the Feet on the Street program is a comprehensive education and outreach strategy that involves a team of community-based observers visiting each resident’s cart and providing tailored feedback on how to improve what items make it into the cart. For Tucson, recyclables should be loose and not in bags, and plastic bags, items with food residue, batteries and small electronics, and Styrofoam™ should not be placed in recycling carts. Many of these materials cause equipment jams at recycling processing facilities, creating hazards for recycling facility workers.
“The Recycling Partnership’s Feet on the Street program works by providing the public personalized and real-time feedback on what is and is not recyclable in their curbside recycling cart,” said Jill Martin, Director of Community Programs at The Recycling Partnership. “Through this recycling education initiative, we are helping Tucson capture more quality recyclables that are then transformed into new materials, creating a more circular economy, a less wasteful planet, and stronger, healthier communities.”
Now, more than ever, Arizonians view recycling as a valuable and essential public service. And during a time of social distancing where many non-essential employees are working remotely and commercial recycling is near an all-time low, producers see residential recycling programs as a critical supplier of materials used in new packaging and products.
The Partnership has successfully implemented this program in more than 70 communities across the country, with some communities seeing a 57% decrease of nonrecyclables in recycling and a 27% increase in the overall capture of quality recyclables.
Learn more about what is and is not acceptable in Tucson at tucsonaz.gov/recycle.
About The Recycling Partnership
The Recycling Partnership is a national nonprofit organization that leverages corporate partner funding to transform recycling for good in states, cities, and communities nationwide. As the leading organization in the country that engages the full recycling supply chain from the corporations that manufacture products and packaging to local governments charged with recycling to industry end markets, haulers, material recovery facilities, and converters, The Recycling Partnership positively impacts recycling at every step in the process. Since 2014, the nonprofit change agent diverted 230 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 465 million gallons of water, avoided more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and drove significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org