PHOENIX – Visitors to rest areas along state highways will begin to notice recycling containers onsite since the Arizona Department of Transportation started a recycling program at three rest areas with plans to expand it statewide.
The program involves partnering with recycling vendors to install 8-cubic-yard bins and smaller blue containers at the rest areas for travelers to use for their recyclable trash. The vendor will collect the recyclables at least once a week.
Rest areas currently participating in the program include McGuireville rest area along I-17, Hassayampa rest area along US 60 and Ehrenberg rest area along I-10 near the California state line.
“With each site visit I make to our rest areas, I see how necessary recycling is,” said Bobby Wheeler, rest area manager for ADOT. “There are large amounts of plastic bottles and aluminum cans tossed in waste receptacles that go to a landfill without first being separated. We need to do the right thing and ensure recyclable materials are actually getting recycled.”
One of the vendors that will be collecting recyclables at the McGuireville rest area works with Rainbow Acres in Camp Verde to provide jobs for developmentally disabled adults sorting plastics and aluminum.
“A crew comes from the Rainbow Acres ranch five days a week where five ranchers and two of our staff members will sort all of the plastics and cans,” said Jill McCutcheon, executive director of Sedona Recycles, Inc. “We couldn’t do the work without this great group of people.”
The rest area recycling program is being implemented at no cost to ADOT. The recycling vendors will be overseen by Infrastructure Corporation of America, the private entity which manages the operation and maintenance of the rest areas through a public-private partnership with ADOT. ICA has been supportive in getting the recycling program in place and operational.
As more recycling vendors across the state join in the program, more rest areas will be able to participate. ADOT’s goal is to implement this program at all rest areas along the state highway system.
“We are glad that we were contacted to provide recycling at the McGuireville rest area,” McCutcheon said.
A map of rest area locations can be found in the Map Book at azdot.gov/maps.