The Reimagine Phoenix Initiative is tackling waste by promoting circular economy entrepreneurship and resource recovery initiatives.

In 2013, Phoenix’s Mayor and City Council set a goal to divert 40% of the city’s waste from landfill by 2020. In 2016, this goal was expanded to achieve zero waste by 2050. The Reimagine Phoenix Initiative is key to reaching that goal, and it includes the development of a Resource Innovation Campus (RIC), establishing waste recovery programs and increasing community education. The RIC is a flagship project and will become a circular economy hub attracting entrepreneurs to create economic growth from materials recovered in the city’s waste streams. The facility will include a technology solutions business incubator operated by Arizona State University, along with $2.75 million in funding over five years for research, technology development, and venture incubation of resource management solutions.

25% increase in waste diversion from landfill since launching Reimagine Phoenix

Cities100 – 2017

One of the resource recovery programs is the rollout of curbside organics collection. The city’s state-of-the-art composting facility can currently process 55,000 tons per year, with the potential to expand to 220,000 tons per year, and is highly water-efficient. Phoenix is also looking to fuel its vehicle fleet with gas captured at the city’s landfills.

The challenge

Achieving zero waste in Phoenix will require finding value in all waste streams not currently recycled. Addressing this will require city-wide scaling of curbside organics collection and the pilot food waste program.


Economic The RIC will create jobs and economic activity via remanufacturing waste. The projects have created 27 jobs and generated $10 million.

Environmental The composting program will avoid 3,660 metric tons of CO2 emissions per 100,000 tons of organic waste diverted.

Social The city is partnering with Recyclebank, which offers an app-based recycling education and incentive program enjoyed by more than 35,000 residents.

Health Reduced NOX and particulate emissions from waste hauling will improve air quality in Phoenix.

About Phoenix

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona and the fifth most populous city nationwide and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents. Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades.

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