Signage displayed during "I Love Mesa Day" on Feb 25. 2023. (Photo by Diego Esquivel)

Mesa-Gilbert partnership to ease recycling woes

The city of Mesa is proceeding with plans to construct a recycling facility in partnership with neighboring town of Gilbert to meet recycling demands from both valley cities.

The material recovery facility, or MRF, entered a new phase after the Mesa city council approved a 15% share of expenses for a design concept to, “provide a cost estimate and timeline for the facility,” according to John Zielonka, a communications specialist for Mesa’s solid waste department. 

The new design phase is expected to last until early 2024.

The proposed MRF would be located on city of Mesa owned property at the northwest corner of Pecos Road and Sossaman Road in southeast Mesa.

The efforts to make the new MRF a reality is done in accordance with Mesa’s climate action plan, which includes a goal to divert 90% of waste from entering Mesa landfills by 2050. 

An MRF ensures the right items are being recycled, and the city currently uses third-party contractors to get the job done. These contractors include Republic Services, a Phoenix based company that suffered a fire at its Salt River landfill facility in 2019, hindering Mesa and other valley cities until Republic Services finishes construction on a new facility which was originally planned to open this summer.

Republic Services has delayed the opening of the new facility until mid- September due to “unforeseen circumstances,” according to Sabrina Garcia, a communications specialist with Republic Services in a written statement to the Mesa Legend.

While the Republic MRF is out of working order, solid waste director for Mesa Sheri Collins estimated in a June 29 AZcentral article, that only 30% of recyclable materials were correctly processed and prevented from reaching a landfill.

As Mesa and Gilbert felt the strain from the Republic fire, along with disputes with China over the quality of recycled materials sold by U.S. companies, the two municipalities saw a mutual benefit to collaborate on the costs and efforts to build a government owned MRF.

“We continue to partner with Gilbert on this project in each phase that has been completed thus far and we look forward to continuing the partnership with them,” said Zielonka. Mesa residents can do their part to prevent the wrong items from entering MRF’s by monitoring the items put in their blue recycle bins by using Mesa’s “recycle right wizard”, which provides an index of common household items and their recyclability.

This story was edited on 8/22/2023 to correct an error made at the time of publication. Republic Services has delayed the opening of their new facility until September, not December as of the time of this edit.

  • Rey Covarrubias Jr.

    Rey Covarrubias Jr. is the Managing Editor for the Mesa Legend. As a lifelong Arizonan, he has found his passion in learning and sharing the diverse cultural and natural wonders of the state. Rey started writing for the Mesa Legend in 2022.

    View all posts

Welcome to the Mesa Legend! Subscribe to know more about what goes on at Mesa Community College!