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Phoenix, Arizona has quickly become a leader in solid waste management due to their innovative approach.  Members of the APWA Solid Waste Management Committee had the opportunity to visit the Phoenix, Arizona 27th Street Transfer Station where they witnessed an operation that has become a leader in sustainability.  Waste to resource, a circular economy concept, is the approach Phoenix has truly embraced and implemented with waste management, and the approach is clearly seen within their waste management facilities.

Solid Waste Committee members explain the importance of Phoenix’s approach and innovation within the field of waste management.


When difficulties arise, we must embrace innovative solutions that change the norm and enhance our communities.  Phoenix exemplifies this mindset with their circular economy incubator and Reimagine Phoenix initiative. 
-Monica Bramble, Solid Waste Management Committee Chair, Northport, Florida.

The new age of thinking about the sustainability of our planet, so that we can ensure resources and the environment are well protected for future generations, has led to a more enlightened view of solid waste management coupled with the recognition that the solid waste management industry is an economic development force. 
-Joe Giudice, Solid Waste Management Committee Member, Phoenix, Arizona

The City of Phoenix is changing the way we handle waste for the benefit of our environment. They have found ways to turn palm fronds into animal feed, they are working to turn plastics #3 - #7 back into fuel, and innovation and creativity are at the core.  If we continue to think outside of the box, the world will surely be a better place than we found it.
-Samantha Yager, Solid Waste Management Committee Member, Columbia, South Carolina

Phoenix is catalyzing the development of domestic systems to recover challenging waste streams, such as plastics 3 through 7, rather than shipping these materials to Asian markets.   These new systems will increase the U.S. recycling rate and create local U.S. jobs while decreasing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. 
-Karen Luken, Solid Waste Management Committee Member, Cincinnati, Ohio

Composting, recycling, and waste management is a critical part of maintaining public health and safety and helps to manage our environmental footprint from the items we use and consume in our daily lives.  What I saw new in Phoenix was the first steps of an organics management program that helps to manage waste regardless of the source. 
-Trent Tompkins, Solid Waste Management Committee Member, Edmonton, Alberta

Phoenix has turned a major challenge into an opportunity to capitalize.  Viewing waste materials as valuable resources is a product of policy changes, a dedicated management approach, and viewing disposal challenges as opportunities for innovation.  Taking municipal, personal, and commercial waste and turning it into products that can be sold or used by the city creates a circular economy to serve the public more efficiently putting Phoenix in a more advantageous position as the waste management landscape continues to change. 

 

Finished compost made from parks and landscape clippings as well as food scraps at the Phoenix, Arizona 27th Avenue Compost Facility.