Recycling FAQs

Here are some of the questions we’re frequently asked about recycling. The recycling guidelines–what goes in which bin–were updated as of July 1, 2018, and some things that used to go in the blue bin should now be placed in the green one. If you can’t find the answer to your recycling question, please send us an email. And remember, when in doubt, leave it out of the blue bin.

Q: Why can’t I put everything that is recyclable in my blue bin?
A: Recyclable materials collected in your curbside pickup are taken to the Cochise County Transfer Station, then trucked to a recycling facility in Tucson where they are sorted and sold to companies that process recyclables into new products. While many things have the recyclable symbol on them, they may not be accepted because there is no market for them or the buyers don’t have the capacity to sort and sell them. Right now, the only materials that are allowed in your blue bin are metal food and beverage cans, plastics #1 and #2, and corrugated cardboard. Please rinse out containers and remove labels, lids, and caps.

Q:  Why are certain items no longer acceptable in the blue bin?
  The global demand for certain recyclable materials has significantly declined so there is no market value for them. While recycling is a tried-and-true way to lessen our footprint on the planet, the recycling market is driven by economics. To help reduce the impact of waste, renew your commitment to finding ways to reduce waste and reuse materials. The internet is a great resource for ideas!

Q: Why do I need to rinse out containers and remove the labels, lids, and caps?
The end buyer for recyclables discounts the value of a load based on sampling for “contamination.” Contamination means that the load of recyclables that they purchase includes stuff they don’t want, like food residue, paper labels attached to steel cans, or a different type of plastic cap on a plastic #1 or #2 bottle. Contaminated recyclables have a lower value, and often end up in the landfill instead of being actually recycled.

Q:  Since paper is no longer accepted in the blue bins, what do I do with it?
  Reducing your paper use is a good place to start, and an online search for ways to recycle paper at home will yield lots of ideas, including how to make your own recycled paper, how to add it to your compost, and fun craft ideas. You can also place it in your green trash bin.

Q: What are the new residential trash rates?
On July 1, 2018, residential trash rates increased by 15%, to $17.23 per month for a 65-gallon can and $19.67 for a 95-gallon can. You can save 10% by paying for a year in advance. (Year in advance billing occurs in July.)

Q: On what days will my curbside recycling be picked up?
Your curbside recycling will be picked up twice a month, and your trash will be picked up once or twice a week, depending on the week. Download and print a calendar, then tape it to your bin or fridge to help you remember the dates and follow the City on Facebook. We’ll post collection days to help you remember which bins go to the curb each week.

Q: Do I have to recycle anything?
No, recycling is voluntary.

Q: If I don’t recycle, can I send my blue bin back?
Yes. Call the Public Works Department at (520) 458-5775 or City Hall at (520) 458-3315 to schedule a bin pickup. There is no charge to return your bin or have it picked up.

Q: If I don’t recycle, will my bill go down?
No, your bill will remain the same.

Q: Can I get a larger trash bin? How much will it cost?
Yes, you can upsize your 65-gallon bin to a 95-gallon bin for an additional $2.44 per month.  You can also add a second bin if you need one. Please call City Hall at (520) 458-3315 (select option 3) to change your service or complete this online change form.

Q: Can I recycle anything besides metal cans, plastics #1 and #2, or corrugated cardboard?
You can recycle other items—just not in the blue bin—by dropping them off at various locations around the City. Items accepted for drop-off at the City’s compost facility include green (yard) waste and household fats, oils, and grease. You can drop off glass in bins at the south side of the Pedro Castro Center parking lot. Many local businesses accept used batteries, electronics, plastic bags, and more. Check out the Other Recycling Opportunities online.