Stanton: Setting the bar high to protect our environment - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Letters To The Editor

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Stanton: Setting the bar high to protect our environment

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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 3:52 pm

As you take out your trash this week, think about this: Phoenix families, businesses and industries generate enough solid waste to fill Chase Field to the top, 14 times each year. 14 times! And much of what we throw away is recyclable, reusable and valuable.

Our future as a thriving city depends on how well we protect our natural resources and environment; increase the efficiencies of our operations; think in a creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative manner and create new economic opportunities. Part of that is integrating more recycling and sustainability into our daily lives. Phoenix’s future depends on it.

That’s why at my state of the city address, I announced the launch of “40 by 20” — a new plan from the Phoenix Public Works Department to divert 40 percent of all waste from landfills by the year 2020.

The “40 by 20” plan will more than triple our diversion rate, dramatically increasing what we recycle and transforming how we all think about trash and useful discarded items.

The point is to make sustainability easy — toss your grass and tree clippings into a curbside pickup bin, check a mobile app to drop off your hazardous waste and schedule bulk trash pick up at your convenience.

It’s also good for your pocket book. Reducing your trash could cut your trash bill by paying less for a smaller bin, which in turn saves us all money with out the need for more landfills. I think you’ll like what “40 by 20” will do.

Education, Choice and Opportunity

• Providing more education about recycling and composting through partnerships with businesses and schools.

• Using incentives for residents and businesses that minimize their waste production and maximize their recycling efforts.

• Expanding service for multifamily, commercial and industrial groups to participate in recycling and diversion programs.

Change the Conversation

• Creating jobs and new business opportunities for companies that can recover materials and recycle solid waste.

• Developing a Center of Excellence — bringing industry and academic partners to find new solutions and uses for solid waste.

• Partnering with Arizona State University’s Global Institute on Sustainability to advance solid waste research.

Protect our Assets

• Recycling and diverting more of our waste will protect our natural environment in Phoenix and keep our neighborhoods clean.

• Increasing cost savings by extending the life span of our current landfills and delaying future investments funded by city residents.

• Investing in opportunities that will create and expand private sector jobs/economies around turning “trash/recyclables” into useful items for local and regional markets.

Yes, we’re setting the bar high, but we can’t move ahead if we don’t lay out our path for success. It will take all of us to achieve our goal of “40 by 20.”

• Greg Stanton was elected mayor of Phoenix in 2011.

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