Flagstaff is rethinking its waste

On the October 17th, Flagstaff's City Council adopted the Rethink Waste Plan, which establishes ambitious goals and a near term plan to guide the City's efforts in reducing the impact of its waste and material consumption.

Most importantly, this plan outlines the new approach for managing Flagstaff's waste and material consumption, known as sustainable materials management. Unlike our past approach that sought to minimize the impact of waste by diverting as much as possible, materials management takes a life-cycle approach to encourage decision making that reduces the impacts that occur during the extraction, processing, transportation, and use or materials, which are often 10 to 100 times greater than the impacts of recycling or landfilling them. 

Materials management attempts to reduce impact across the life-cycle of materials, whereas our past approach only considered the "end-of-life" stage of materials.

Materials management attempts to reduce impact across the life-cycle of materials, whereas our past approach only considered the "end-of-life" stage of materials.

Following the adoption of the plan, the goals guiding the City's future efforts include:

  1. Achieving "Zero Waste" by 2050 - This means we'll have to divert 90% of the waste generated within the city from the landfill by recycling, reusing, composting, diverting it through some other method.
  2. Reduce overall waste generation - The most effective way to reduce the impacts of our waste is to prevent it in the first place and this metric will help evaluate such efforts.
  3. Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Flagstaff's material consumption - Did you know that 42% of U.S. emissions are a result of the provision of materials? We hope to reduce those emissions by empowering residents to make more thoughtful consumption choices.
  4. Increase participation - We want everyone in Flagstaff to have access to and participate in the services the community offers. Whether that is shopping at a thrift store, attending a Fix-it Clinic, or disposing of your hazardous waste at a Drop-off Day, we want you to participate!

To help us reach these goals, the Rethink Waste Plan outlines a phased plan of action for getting us there.

Phase 1 (Years 1 - 3)

The plan mostly focuses on this first phase, during which we hope to set a foundation for future success. We hope to do this better utilizing our existing recycling infrastructure, filling in gaps in data and knowledge or the waste system in Flagstaff, and engaging residents on this new materials management vision. 

Phase 2 (Years 4 - 5)

Building off the momentum of Phase 1, we plan to commission the drafting of a strategic plan with specific policy and program prescriptions to help the City get all to the goals outlined above.

Phase 3 (Years 6 and beyond)

This phase will focus on implementing the policies and programs outlined in the strategic plan that is produced as part of Phase 2.

We look forward to working with you all to carry out this plan and achieve the City's goals. If you would like to learn more about the plan and see exactly what we hope to accomplish over the next few years, we encourage you to check out the full plan.

If you have any question, contact Dylan Lenzen at 928-213-2158 or dlenzen@flagstaffaz.gov.