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Where are the recycling bins?

Kendrick Wilson
By Kendrick Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 24, 2003

After surviving a number of roadblocks last year, Residence Life Recycling seems to finally be getting back on its feet. Recycle bins are up and going in the dorms, and it's not even November yet.

Students are still interested in recycling, too. Marcella Silva, a family studies senior, has noticed that some of her friends in the dorms are even asking where they can recycle materials not included in the current recycling program.

"They've been asking where they can recycle newspapers, cardboard and glass," she said. "There seems to be an interest in recycling and in recycling more kinds of items."

This is encouraging, but where does it leave students who live in apartments?

I decided to contact the offices of some apartment complexes where UA students live and rate them on their efforts to provide recycling to tenants.

Although I wouldn't have guessed it, NorthPointe scores the highest, with recycle bins available for tenants that are picked up once every three days. NorthPointe gets an A+ for offering recycling to tenants.

Coming in second is University House on East Eighth Street. According to Tina Perez, who works in their office, they plan to start providing recycling next semester. Staff members at the apartments suggested a recycling program to their corporate office after residents had expressed an interest. The corporate office plans to move forward with it in the spring.

University House gets a B, only because they have yet to make their plans materialize.

It is perplexing that anyone who lives and works in Tucson would not want to move forward with more recycling programs, even if a cost is involved.

Ranking third is Zona Verde Apartments on East Drachman Street. Neddy Quiros, the property manager for the complex, said tenants have expressed an interest in recycling, but the contractor she had contacted about recycling said a recycle barrel would swallow three parking spaces in an already overcrowded lot. She is currently looking for a location to house a recycle bin outside of the parking lot. Zona Verde gets a C+ for responding to tenant interest in recycling, but leaving the possibility that it may never be made available for renters nonetheless.

My apartment complex, Entrada Real, is a close fourth. Property manager Dan Switter said that he looked into providing recycling after a number of tenants had expressed an interest. He was told that in order to contract through the city, it would cost the apartment management $100 per apartment, which would mean $10,000 for the entire complex. Holding out for a less expensive program, he says he may look into using a private company. Entrada Real also gets a C+ for responding to renter interest in recycling, even though no program has begun.

Then come the low-scorers, the highest ranking of which is Capistrano Apartments east of campus on East Sixth Street. Jasmine Watson who works in the office, explained that they had tried a recycling program in the past, but there was not enough resident activity. They have no plans to try again in the future. Capistrano Apartments gets a D+ for making an effort to promote recycling in the past, despite their inability to keep it going. Incidentally, they continue to provide garbage collection regardless of the level of resident activity.

Cottonwood Creek apartments on East Fourth Street and North Country Club Road and University Heights Apartments on North Park Avenue north of campus are tied for sixth place. Both receive an F for failing to provide recycling for tenants and having no plans to bring a recycling program to their complexes in the future.

While only one of the apartment complexes listed has actually implemented a recycling program, it seems that tenants are certainly interested and most owners are at least making an effort to respond to that interest. Some have not, and it is perplexing that anyone who lives and works in Tucson would not want to move forward with more recycling programs, even if a cost is involved. No one wants a landfill in his or her back yard, and tearing up undisturbed desert to build one would be a travesty.

When the city expanded recycling and reduced the frequency of garbage pickup for residential customers, recycling rates increased dramatically - and the program will prevent the city from having to build new landfills.

Interest keeps building and now is the time to expand recycling, while we still have a desert environment worth saving.

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