2016 recycling statistics shine light on consumption

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Another year has passed, and we have totaled up the recyclables collected in 2016. It was another great year, with 3,388 tons of recyclables collected at Sedona Recycles. That’s right; Sedona and Verde Valley residents recycled almost 7 million pounds of recyclable material in 2016.

That means that our staff collected, sorted and processed approximately 19,000 pounds of recyclables every day last year. That deserves a round of applause! Their hard work and dedication to the value of recycling is truly admirable.

Of the total material we processed, 1,520 tons – almost 50% – was collected in Sedona. The Village of Oak Creek recycled an additional 474 tons, bringing the total for Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek to 1,994 tons. Wow!

These numbers are impressive and serve as a testament to the dedication of the recyclers in Sedona and the Verde Valley. Yes, we processed and shipped the material for recycling, but you all took the time to separate those materials and deliver them to us for recycling. Thank you for your commitment to reducing waste and conserving resources.

These numbers also highlight current trends in recycling. Paper recycling has continued to decrease, as consumers switch to electronic billing, communication, and news sources. Cardboard recycling also decreased. And plastic collection also increased in volume and quantity, highlighting the widespread use of plastics, particularly those that are being made thinner and flimsier and must be recycled overseas.

These trends bring up some points that are worth mentioning. While it is wonderful that all this material was recycled, so much of it never had to exist in the first place. Instead of ordering online, try to buy locally and pick the items with the least packaging. You may save a few dollars when you order online, but you are contributing to the decline of businesses that serve our local community and increasing unnecessary packaging.

Single use plastics have skyrocketed in the last ten years and the staggering variety of plastics that we receive and hand-sort is nothing short of mindboggling. Please try to avoid plastic bottles, straws, and cups and make a conscious decision not to purchase individually packaged servings. With a little fortitude and the formation of some new habits, such as saying “no straw please” at restaurants, you can easily reduce your consumption of these products.

Of course we don’t expect everyone to eliminate all plastics from their lives or to purchase everything locally. But we hope that all our avid recyclers and the community as a whole will continue to be aware of their consumption habits. We really can make a difference by changing a few simple behaviors and recycling everything we can.

Give your feedback to local businesses by thanking them for serving food on reusable dishes or using to-go boxes made from recycled material. Suggest areas where they can improve, like offering onsite recycling for beverage containers or switching from Styrofoam to other materials. We are all in this together and we need to work as a team.

Also examine ways that your consumption has changed and see if anything you are using more often can be recycled now. Inside the Sedona Recycles lobby, we offer collection of items like books, corks, Styrofoam blocks, Brita filters, bubble wrap, golf balls, and more. See if there is anything you can recycle that you have been missing and if there are any materials that you can work harder to avoid that are not recyclable, such as milk cartons, juice pouches, and coffee cups.

Continued investigation and reinvestment in your recycling practices will help maximize our collective recycling efforts in the new year. If you are feeling comfortable in your habits, see if you can push yourself just a little farther and set new goals. They all add up!

Thank you to everyone who has recycled, reused, and reduced their waste this year and every year. It takes a community of committed citizens to make change, and Sedona certainly boasts a committed populace. Here’s to another great year!

If you have questions about recycling or would like more information about ways you can reduce waste or participate in local recycling efforts, please contact us at (928) 204-1185, visit www.sedonrecycles.org, or come see us in the office of our recycling center at 2280 Shelby Drive.


Meghan Kincheloe, Sedona Recycles

Sedona Red Rock News

January 18, 2017