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After Community Feedback, Phoenix City Council Approves Staff’s Recommendation for a Solid Waste Rate Increase

During the Feb. 11 Policy Session, the Phoenix City Council approved staff’s recommendation to increase the current monthly residential solid waste rate of $26.80.

The increase of will be phased in over two years, which means residential customers will notice an additional $3.75 in their April 2020 bill and then another increase of $3.25 in January 2021.

The decision to approve the increase in the solid waste monthly rate was based on feedback from the public gathered by Phoenix Public Works staff, who implemented a community outreach strategy during the months of December 2019 and January 2020.

More than 5,800 collected surveys from the community revealed: a 90% satisfaction with the city’s delivery of solid waste services nearly; 90% of the respondents value recycling and waste diversion programs and believe they are important; and 60% of respondents were in favor of maintaining the current level of solid waste service. Read Story

Introduction to the Proposed Rate Changes

Public Works Front-Loading Truck

The City of Phoenix is requesting public input on proposed rate change options for trash and recycling services for city of Phoenix residents. This page was created to provide background information about the proposed rate change options and to collect feedback.

On November 12, 2019, City Council was given a presentation with five options, which included recommendations from a Citizen Advisory Committee and a consultant study. You can watch the Nov. 12, 2019 City Council Policy Session on YouTube or download the Nov. 12, 2019 Rate Change Presentation (7 MB PDF).

We welcome public comments!

• Attend a Community Meeting
• Call us at 602-262-6824
• Email TrashAndRecycle@Phoenix.gov

Note when you submit an email it falls under the city's policy which states that the email message is: (1) subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Law, (2) is not private or confidential and (3) is retained for 90 days. You may access internet-enabled computers for free at any Phoenix Pu​blic Library location.

Community Meeting Dates

Updated meeting dates and locations as of 12/10/19. Triggering an address link will launch Google Maps in a new window or tab.

December 11, 2019, 6:30 p.m. D7/D8. South Mountain Community Center, Saguaro Room, 212 E. Alta Vista Road
December 16, 2019, 8:30 a.m. D2/D3. Shadow Mountain Senior Cen​ter, 3546 E. Sweetwater Avenue​
December 18, 2019, 6:30 p.m. D4/D6. Steele Indian School Park, Memorial Hall, 300 E. Indian School Road
January 9, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D7. Santa Maria Middle School, 7250 W. Lower Buckeye Road
January 13, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D3/D5. Sunnyslope Community Center, Multipurpose Room, 802 E. Vogel Avenue
January 14, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D6. Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th Street
January 15, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D4/D6/D8. Devonshire Senior Center, 2802 E. Devonshire Avenue​
January 16, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D2/D3. Paradise Valley Community Center Multipurpose Room, 17402 N. 40th Street
January 21, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D7. ASU Downtown Facility, A.E. England Building, 424 N. Central Avenue
January 22, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D4/D5/D7. Desert West Community Center (Meeting will be bilingual and offered in Spanish), 6501 W. Virginia Avenue
January 23, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D1/D2. Goelet A.C. Beuf Community Center, 3435 W. Pinnacle Peak Road
January 28, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D1/D3/D5. Helen Drake Senior Center, 7600 N 27th Avenue
January 30, 2020, 6:30 p.m. D7/D8. South Mountain Community Center, Century Room, 212 E. Alta Vista Road

What We Do Proposed Rates F.A.Q. Efficiencies Why We Recycle Downloads ​​​​

​What We Do

Public Works Sorting Facility

Over 600 employees work six days a week to manage trash and recycling services:

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Proposed Rates

Trash Cans​The city has kept the same solid waste residential rate for over 10 years. During that time, Phoenix’s population has grown by nearly 211,000 residents, which equals about 30,000 new households— more customers means more trash and recycling to service. Staff, vehicles and city facilities are in constant demand with about a total of 400,000 customers spread across more than 500 square miles. Plus, current operational and financial challenges include adapting to a changing recycling market, employee compensation costs, and equipment and mainentance costs.

The city is also collecting comments about other ideas, including some combination of the options, or additional ideas that the public may suggest.

What does my current monthly service include? Weekly trash and recycling pickup, quarterly bulk trash pickup, Household Hazardous Waste events, and composting services. 

Proposed Residential Rate Adjustment Options



Total Monthly Rate†

Service Impacts

Option 1

+ $6.40


Maintain current service level; no eliminations

Option 2

+ $5.65


Eliminate composting and all other services remain

Option 3

+ $5.50


Change to every other week recycling (instead of weekly) and all other services remain

Option 4

+ $4.75


Eliminate both recycling & composting program and all other services remain

No Rate Increase



Eliminate: bulk trash, Household Hazardous Waste events, weekly recycling, compost programs, eco stations, 135 staff positions; close one recycling facility and go to every other week recycling 

* Two percent inflation rate to be added to residential rate each year effective first bill date in January, 2021.

Alternate “Phased-in” Residential Rate Adjustment Options 1-3


Year 1 Change

Total Starting April 2020

Year 2 Change

Total Starting January 2021

Option 1

+ $3.75


+ $3.25


Option 2

+ $3.75


+ $2.50


Option 3

+ $3.75


+ $2.40


Option 4 is not eligible for a phased-in approach.
* Two percent inflation rate to be added to residential rate each year effective first bill date in January, 2021.

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Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Learn more about the proposed rate changes.

Question 1: Why is Public Works asking for a rate increase?

Answer: The city has kept the same solid waste residential rate for over 10 years. During that time, Phoenix’s population has grown by nearly 211,000 residents, which equals about 30,000 new households—more customers means more trash and recycling to service.

The rate increase will enable the department to update its fleet and modernize equipment at transfer stations. In addition, it will help offset the reduced income from recyclables. which will allow better sorting of materials that can be recycled and sold. Ultimately, with increased resources, Phoenix will be able to divert more resources from the landfill, provide more jobs and increases operational efficiency.

Table shows Phoenix Solid Waste Residential Rates, from 1990-2020. There has been no increase since 2009. 

Question 2: When was the last time the monthly service fee was increased? And why now?

Answer: 2009. Back then, the rate changed from $25.45 to $26.80, an increase of $1.35 more per month, for most residential service levels.

Public Works staff has worked to find ways to balance the budget without increasing fees. From cost-saving measures to making the most of revenue-generating options, the city has been able to maintain the same rate since 2009. In addition, it has become increasingly harder to sell recyclable materials. Now the city needs to find other ways to pay for the changing recycling market, employee compensation costs, equipment and maintenance costs. See Proposed Rates Section

Question 3: What are the proposed options?

Answer: There are five options that the Phoenix City Council is considering. See Proposed Rates Section for details. The city is also collecting comments about other ideas, including some combination of the options, or additional ideas that the public may suggest.

Question 4: If the monthly fee doesn’t increase, will we still receive the same services?

Answer: No. There will be some changes to your monthly solid waste services if the monthly rate does not increase. Determining which services are affected will depend on which option is selected. You can See Proposed Rates Section to determine which services could remain and which could be eliminated. Below are all the services that single-home residential users currently receive for $26.80:

  • Weekly pickup of trash and recycling

  • Bulk trash service

  • Household Hazardous Waste events

  • Compost services (select areas)

  • Transfer Station monthly drop-off

Question 5: What does population and size have to do with the proposed fee increase?

The city has kept the same solid waste residential rate for over 10 years. During that time, Phoenix’s population has grown by nearly 211,000 customers — more customers means more trash and recycling to service.
Table showing Phoenix population growth from 2000 to 2030 (projected). The population is projected to be 2,000,000 in the year 2030.

Question 6: I live in an apartment or multi-family home in Phoenix, how does this affect me?

Answer: The proposed rate change would not affect you. Per city code, Phoenix Public Works may only pick up trash and recycling from single-family homes and does not service apartments or multi-family units (greater than four).

Question 7: What about recycling? Will Phoenix keep recycling?

Answer: It depends on which rate option is selected. Phoenix started recycling in 1989. The city’s commitment to diverting waste from the landfill is also a crucial factor in its goal to reach a 40% diversion rate by the end of 2020. Several of the options being presented either keep or modify the city's recycling collection plan. See Question 11 for more information on the city’s history with recycling.

Question 8: Is the recycling revenue Phoenix generates yearly decreasing?

Answer: Yes. Due to the changes in the global recycling market (including restrictions imposed by China in 2017), the revenue Phoenix earns on selling its recycl​ables has decreased. In 2011-12 Phoenix earned $12M from selling recyclables. In 2018-19 that dropped to only $6M. It is projected that 2019-20 income will drop to $3.3M.

Income from Selling Recyclables, 2009-21 

Question 9: When did Phoenix’s recycling program begin?

Phoenix Eco Station Answer: In 1987, the Mayor and Phoenix City Council authorized a University of Arizona study of the composition of Phoenix residential refuse. This analysis, conducted ​in early 1988, showed that 50% by weight and 63% by volume was recyclable.

The city of Phoenix wanted to create a recycling program that would capture as much material from the solid waste stream as possible. In addition, the city designed “Phoenix Recycles” to keep costs down by using existing trucks and personnel on the same twice-a-week collection schedule. In April 1989, a pilot recycling program of 4,000 homes began in each of the eight City Council Districts. Another 6,000 homes were added in March 1990. Sorting for residents was simple with all recyclables placed loosely and unbagged in a blue curbside container. The participation rate citywide was then approximately 90%.

The sorting process was conducted in several locations using a number of technologies. Based on the success of the program, the Public Works Department decided to move forward, and in 1991 gained approval from the City Council for citywide implementation of Phoenix Recycles. As of 2017, the city is at 86% participation rate in the recycling program.

Question 10: What is recyclable in Phoenix?

Answer: Phoenix’s recycling program collects a wide variety of hard and durable plastics, glass, aluminum, metals and paper products. See a detailed list of what’s recyclable in Phoenix.

Question 11: What about composting? Will it go away?

Answer: It depends on which rate option is selected. Right now, the city of Phoenix collects and processes green organics (grass clippings, leaves. etc.) at a state-of-the-art city-owned facility. The materials it processes come fr​om local landscaping companies and residents who use the city's Transfer Stations. Some residents pay an additional fee to participate in curbside pickup of green organics. One of the options being proposed would include eliminating these services. See Proposed Rates section for details.

Question 12: What is Waste Diversion? What are Phoenix’s goals for waste diversion?

Answer:  Waste diversion (or landfill diversion) is the process of diverting waste away from landfills, either through recycling or throwing away less materials. The Phoenix City Council has an adopted goal of 40% diversion by 2020. The city’s waste diversion goals are outlined in the “Reimagine Phoenix” program.​​​

Question 13: What has caused the budget shortfall?

Answer: There are several reasons for the budget shortfall including: higher costs to maintain and repair vehicles and equipment, increases to city contracts from vendors, higher rates in the recycling industry to process recyclable material and loss of recycling revenue, and the rising costs of wages and benefits for workers including a recent statewide minimum wage boost.  While these costs have gone up, the city’s rates did not go up for the past 10 years. Now, the city needs new revenue to cover these continually growing costs.  Without a rate increase, the projected budget shortfall will be $36.5 million.​​​​​​


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One of Phoenix's two Transfer StationsSince the last rate increase in 2009, Public Works has worked diligently to increase efficiencies and savings, including:

  • $1.5 Million Saved: By rerouting pick-up schedules so residents have their trash and recycling collected on same day.

  • $1.3 Million Saved: By converting collection vehicles from traditional fuel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).          

  • $2.6 Million Collected: By leasing city land at landfills to private businesses.

  • $1.3 Million Saved: By utilizing in-house repairs to fleet vehicles.

  • $1.1 Million Saved: By using and purchasing vehicles that are designed for the size and scope of the projects assigned.

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​Why We Recycle

Phoenix started a pilot recycling​ program in 1989, and has been committed for over 30 years to reyclc​ing and its many benefits!

One benefit of recycling is the economic resource it provides Public Works to better service Phoenix residents. Part of this are the many jobs our recycling program has provided for the residents of the Phoenix.

Secondly, reducing the city’s waste is beneficial to the environment, helping combat climate change. This also helps us meet our Sustainability goals to divert more trash from landfills.

Thirdly, it's the right thing to do. It costs less to recycle materials than it does to landfill materials. Recycling provides many benefits to the community and economy of Phoenix and is better for the enivironment long-term.  

See detailed list of what’s recyclable in Phoenix.

‡ See Municipal Solid Waste Cost of Service Analysis report in Downloads.

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On the video, use the ha​mburger menu icon to select a specific video. Or just play video to cycle through the entire playlist.

Downloads & Reference  

City Code Chapter 27. Article VII. Solid Waste Fees

  • 2​7-47. Application of variances; beginning of charges.

  • 27-48. Level of solid waste fees; no exceptions.

  • 27-49. Payment of solid waste fees.

  • 27-50. Credits and debits of solid waste fees.

  • 27-51. Financial responsibility deposits.

  • 27-52. State and other governmentally imposed fees or taxes.

  • 27-53. Solid waste disposal facility permits; fees.

  • 27-54. Waiver of disposal fees.

  • 27-55. Dumping in designated areas permitted upon payment of fee.

Ordinances and RCAs referenced in the code City Code Chapter 27, Article VII. Solid Waste Fees

  • 6/23/2004, Ord4623-G: Amend Chapter 27 - Solid Waste Article I II Sections 10 12 14 15 Article III 22 25 29 33 35 36 38 41 To 44 47 48 50 52 55 Phoenix City Code

  • 11/30/2005, Ord4757-G: Amend Chapter 27 - Solid Waste of City Code Section 53 To Increase Commercial Fee & Eliminate Tipping Fee Skunk Creek

  • 12/12/2007, Ord5046-G: Amend Chapter 27 - Sections 48 & 53 Solid Waste Fees Residential & Disposal

  • 2/11/2009, Ord5315-G: Amend Chapter 27 - Sections 48 & 53 Residential & Disposal Fees

  • 11/28/2012, Ord5756-G: Amend Chapter 27 - Solid Waste Ordinance

  • 5/28/2014, Ord5920-G: Amend Chapter 27 - Solid Waste Ordinance To Reflect The Approved Solid Waste Program Changes

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We welcome public comments!

• Attend a Community Meeting
• Take an Online Surv​ey (closed)

Note when you submit an email it falls under the city's policy which states that the email message is: (1) subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Law, (2) is not private or confidential and (3) is retained for 90 days.

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 ‭(Hidden)‬ Unused

Question X: What happens to sorted plastic and materials?

Examples of plastic bottles that can be recycled Answer: There are many different types of plastic, therefore the markets vary from plastic to plastic. However, the city of Phoenix keeps most of the recycled plastic in domestic markets. Low-grade plastics, the types that cannot be recycled, get sent to the city’s landfill. For example, these are plastics #3, #4, #6 and #7; these plastics are a very small percentage of the city’s recycling stream.

  • Mesa: $30.18

  • Tempe: $25.60

  • Goodyear: $22.80

  • Glendale:$21.80

Los Angeles: $36.32

  • Houston: $34.00

  • San Antonio: $29.00

  • Dallas: $27.26

  • Phoenix: $26.80

    Video Note for next Container.

    Question X: What is the operating cost of Public Work’s Solid Waste services?

    Answer: The cost of collecting recyclables is essentially the same as collecting garbage. The salve value of all recyclables exceeds the cost to process the recyclables at the plant, resulting in net revenue. This means the net revenue covers the expense of the program while excess revenue is used to offset other costs for solid waste services to residents.

    Question X: What are the current Solid Waste programs and projects?

    Answer: There are several current programs, including:

    1. Zero Waste Team
    2. Oops/Shine on program
    3. Green organics
    4. WeCare compost facility
    5. Clothing pickup
    6. Phoenix cares
    7. Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): commonly called trash and recycling
    8. Bulk trash
    9. SWEO apprenticeship
    10. Resource innovation campus development

    Question 2: Why is the city considering the renovation?

    Answer: As the owner of the building, the city is responsible for renovating the building. The facility is nearly 30 years old. The 550,000 square foot facility has 7 stories with plumbing, mechanical, electrical, roof and structural issues all in need of renovation. The building's numerous elevators, escalators, and concourses have all been impacted by wear and tear with over a million visitors on an annual basis. 

    Bathroom sanitary pipe (Left). Corrosion on riser (Right)
    Bathroom sanitary pipe (Left). Corrosion on riser (Right).

    Under the proposed agreement, the city is primarily paying infrastructure costs and the city and the Suns would share the renovation costs. In addition, there will be no new taxes, as the city would continue to use the same funding source, the Sports Facilities Fund, made up primarily of taxes on hotels and rental cars, to pay for the renovation. The Suns will spend an estimated $25 to $50 million to build a new practice facility in Phoenix, continue to pay for all operations and maintenance on the building (like the team has done since 1992), continue paying the city rent and contribute to capital expenses for future repairs.

  • ​Question 6: How much do other cities charge monthly for solid waste pickup?

    Answer: Phoenix is competitive, if not cheaper, than cities of comparable size and more than reasonably priced compared to cities of smaller size:

    Phoenix Compared to National Cities


    Sq. Miles


    Austin, TX




    Los Angeles, CA




    San Antonio, TX




    Dallas, TX




    Phoenix, AZ




    Ordered by current highest to lowest fee. Published rates as of November 2019. Population data from .

    Phoenix Compared to Valley Cities


    Sq. Miles


    Mesa, AZ




    Phoenix, AZ




    Tempe, AZ




    Goodyear, AZ




    Glendale, AZ




    Surprise, AZ




    Scottsdale, AZ




    Chandler, AZ




    Peoria, AZ




    * As of August 19, 2019, the City of Surprise discontinued their residential recycling program.
    Table ordered by current highest to lowest fees. Published rates as of November 2019. Population data from .

    Question 7: I use the transfer station as a resident or as a business, are the gate rates changing?

    Answer: Maybe. One of the proposals being presented to the City Council to raise revenue is to increase the gate rates at our Transfer Stations. Like our residential rates, the gate rates have remained unchanged in ten years. As a resident, you already get access to the transfer station once a month to drop off up to 2,000 lbs of materials. After that, like a business, you would have to pay the current rate of $38.25 per ton. If a rate increase is approved, the “tipping fee” would increase to $42.00 for the next two years.​