The Public Works Solid Waste Department is turning garbage into cash. The paper products placed inside local bins are sold around the world, according to department officials.

Arizona uses a company called Hudson Baylor Corporation to take the paper materials from blue bins and sell them around the world, as well as to local companies.

"The materials are sold wherever we can get the most revenue for them," said Terry Gellenbeck, solid waste administrative analyst for the Public Works Solid Waste Department.

That revenue fluctuates depending on how much material is recycled and how much factories are willing to pay. All revenue goes into the solid waste fund, which makes recycling and waste management more affordable for everyone, Gellenbeck said.

Recycling doesn't just save the city money in the long run. It also creates jobs, makes the community less dependent on foreign oil, which is needed to create plastic bottles, and makes the community more sustainable.

"Most people, when they think recycling, just think of the environmental impact and they forget about the economic and social impacts as well," Gellenbeck said.

It's especially cost effective for Ahwatukee Foothills residents to recycle.

Ahwatukee waste costs more in transportation because it is far away from any dumping site. When residents recycle more, the city can actually make money.

Last year, Phoenix gained $5.1 million in revenue from recycled materials.

Residents can help by recycling more and cleaner. Do not put grass, food, dirty diapers or any non-recyclable items in the blue bins.

"It's one thing we can do now for our future generation," Gellenbeck said.

Allison Hurtado is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.

 

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