Editor’s note: This regular feature explores topics discussed in past issues of the Aztec Press.
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
A 1991 Aztec Press article focused on U.S. handling of a major export: trash. Few recycling programs were in place and people were beginning to realize the importance of sustainable materials.
Environmental organizations such as Tucson, Clean And Beautiful formed in southern Arizona in the mid-1980s.
Pima Community College joined the expanding recycling efforts in 1990 by placing recycling bins at campuses.
“One of the main facets of the program is to educate people,” PCC recycling coordinator Catalina Sanchez said.
The program would not be possible without the help of dedicated and driven volunteers, Sanchez added.
A special Earth Day issue from 1990 featured an interview with Scott Harper, then hazardous waste coordinator for the PCC Risk Management and Safety Department.
He stressed the importance of waste management education, saying most safety violations stem from unclear communication.
“We have to go beyond Earth Day; my job doesn’t stop because Earth Day has passed,” Harper said. “We must not be reactive; instead, we must be pro-active with the environment. We have a responsibility to the community.”
Currently, education is still necessary.
Many Tucson residents have blue barrels provided for curbside pickup, yet there is confusion about which materials are acceptable.
A diverse range of plastics, metal, glass and paper materials are recyclable. Neither Styrofoam nor plastic bags are permitted, with the exception of a plastic bag containing shredded paper.
The recycling program recommends participants bring their blue bin to the curb only when it is more than half full to help reduce fuel consumption.
The website tucsonaz.gov/es/content/hhw_list provides information about how to properly dispose of potentially hazardous materials such as batteries, computer parts, various chemicals and fluorescent lamps.
To find out more about individual and group projects, visit http://tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org.
A complete list of guidelines and recyclable items can be found on the City of Tucson website, tucsonaz.gov/es/customer-services-residential-recycling.