Waste diversion has always been at the forefront for the city of Phoenix. As the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship quickly approaches, the city is putting emphasis once again on the importance of reducing, recycling and composting during the events and activities surrounding the exciting basketball tournament.
The city of Phoenix, in partnership with the NCAA and the Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee, has set a goal to reach a zero waste diversion rate during the four days’ worth of activities at the Fan Fest at the Phoenix Convention Center and the Music Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park. To achieve this, Phoenix Public Works will be working very closely with the event’s waste management contractors, who will provide three types of containers for Fan Fest and concert-goers to use as they sort their waste into recycling, composting and trash. The containers will be properly labeled indicating where different waste materials should be placed. Typically, at large sporting events, only recycling and trash bins are provided, resulting in large amounts of food waste sent to the landfill.
At last year’s College Football Playoffs events, Phoenix Public Works surpassed its waste diversion goal, achieving an 81 percent waste diversion rate by diverting more than 24,000 pounds of mixed recyclables, which includes glass, plastic, aluminum and paper materials, as well as food waste and compostable materials collected during the events related to the college football tournament.
For the events surrounding the basketball championship, Phoenix Public Works will have environmental specialists and volunteers roaming the area, assisting basketball fans and concert-goers on how to recycle and sort their waste. While collaboration with vendors and contractors is essential to a seamless waste collection, educating the public will be key to achieving a zero waste diversion rate. All materials collected will be hauled to the city-owned 27th Avenue Transfer Station, where contracted workers will do additional sorting and processing of materials.
As Phoenix hosts more large-scale events, Phoenix Public Works continues to delve into providing efficient solid waste collection to these special events in addition to the residential services it already offers. Phoenix is one of few major cities in the nation that owns its transfer station, recycling facility and landfill.
Phoenix’s commitment to waste diversion is fueled by its Reimagine Phoenix initiative, which has an overall citywide goal of a 40 percent waste diversion rate by 2020. Since the initiative’s launch in 2013, Phoenix has implemented two additional solid waste programs for residents to divert more waste from the landfill. Additionally, Phoenix is developing a Resource Innovation Campus, which invites waste-to-product companies to enter into a partnership with the city to create a hub for sustainability solutions that would be beneficial for the company and the city’s economy.
For more information about the Reimagine Phoenix initiative, please visit phoenix.gov/ReimaginePhoenix or follow @TalkingTrashPHX on Twitter and PHXPublicWorks on Facebook. For information about the Final Four events, visit phoenix.gov/finalfour.