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Hodge: Zero waste, a ton of impact


In November 2009, I read that the city of Tempe was going to host a “Zero Waste Day.” I read the headline and I was confused. I asked myself questions like “What is a Zero Waste Day?" and “Do other cities host these events?” 

Over the last 15 years, I have witnessed the growth in popularity of our Zero Waste Days. Typically staged four times annually, they transform our community as we move forward on the path to a more sustainable future. 

Our Zero Waste Days enable Tempe and Town of Guadalupe residents to dispose of household hazardous waste in an environmentally conscious manner and to even dispose of items for reuse, recycling and repurposing.  

At this year’s first Zero Waste Day, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 27, Tempeans diverted a remarkable 64,148 pounds of waste from the landfill to be recycled, repurposed and reused.

The items discarded properly included over 11,000 pounds of electronic waste, over 12,000 pounds of household waste, 2,400 pounds of appliances and 4,000 pounds of building materials.

Zero Waste Days are not merely about getting rid of your unwanted electronic appliances like that BlackBerry Bold device you haven’t used since 2010, or the Huffy bicycle your aunt gifted you for your birthday over 20 years ago. These events have also become a day to demonstrate community members’ disposition towards charitable causes. 

At these events, city staff collect non-perishable, unopened food items, as well as pet food and pet supplies, for less fortunate members of our society. 

So, next time you clean out your attics, closets, and garages and remove unwanted items and paper for shredding, take a moment to realize you are doing something powerful. 

You are making Tempe a more environmentally friendly place. For a Zero Waste Day is not a merely symbolic gesture. It is a day of meaningful action.

The door to my office in Tempe City Hall is always open. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at 480-350-8748, or email me at berdetta_hodge@tempe.gov.