Cart Tagging with updated plastic recycling information

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As you are all aware, plastics recycling has changed dramatically in Flagstaff due to China’s National Sword policy banning imports of our heavily contaminated recyclable materials. As a result, only plastic bottles, jugs, and jars are accepted at the Flagstaff Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Unfortunately, many residents are not aware of these changes and continue to put non-recyclable plastics in their carts. This practice contaminates the recycling stream and it’s necessary for the MRF staff to try and screen them out. While they do their best at that task, the large volume means that some always slip through the cracks and end up in the baler. The effects of that combination are a more expensive and resource-intensive trip to the landfill for the ones that get screened, and contaminated recycling bales that may get rejected so the whole load goes to the landfill.

We’ve created a new tag with the updated information and need your help getting them out to the public. We’re planning a cart tagging project to get these directly into the hands of Flagstaff residents. Solid Waste Collections staff have determined that the average weekly set-out rate for residential recycling carts is only around 60%, while the trash set-out rate is over 90%. Based on that fact, we intend to attach these new tags on garbage carts in select areas to get the word out. Please check the volunteer calendar if you’d like to help with this important effort.

Targeted cart inspections and tagging


We’re also in the process of designing and implementing a City-wide cart inspection and tagging protocol. City of Flagstaff GIS staff are developing a mobile app that will allow Collections Drivers, Code Inspectors, Sustainability Staff, and Master Recyclers to track addresses as they are inspected and tagged. This will be long-term project that we are hoping to begin early next year.

We’ll need lots of help as we plan to target areas for 3 inspections per month with the goal of drastically reducing contamination rates. We will plan on inspecting recycling carts and identifying non-recyclable items and alerting the resident to what items need to be kept out and disposed of in their garbage carts. Hopefully, we will see contamination rates go down and award the “Looking Good!” tags before we move on to the next area. Be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities soon. Please feel free to contact Felix at or Dylan at if you’d like more information

Treecycling Campaign


Holiday season is in full swing and Albert has been hard at work getting the word out on how to properly dispose of fresh-cut Christmas Trees. He was recently spotted at Allen’s Tree Sales on Butler Ave. handing out Treecycle ornaments and informing people of the curbside pick-up and community drop-off options for Treecycling. The ornaments are being distributed with fresh-cut trees sold at Allen’s Tree Sales, Warner’s Nursery, Flagstaff Farmers Market, and Home Depot. Recycle By City also has information about the dates for curbside pick-up and maps for the drop-off locations. Please help spread the word!