- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - A new Flagstaff program will train some residents to teach others about reducing, reusing, recycling and compositing.

Those interested in becoming “master recyclers” can sign up for a six-week course beginning in February, reported The Arizona Daily Sun (https://bit.ly/2hWPok7 ). It will teach the students about waste prevention and composting through field trips, lessons from city staff and presentations by people in the private sector.

City sustainability specialist McKenzie Jones likened the program to the master gardener program and said it is meant to give people a certificate-level knowledge in the topic. Beyond recycling, the course will cover topics like the sharing community, reducing toxins, fixing and reusing and preventing food waste.

“You’re getting essentially a fairly detailed class with guest lectures where you can really learn and delve into this information in a way that is not really available to the average citizen,” Jones said.

Officials hope the program will boost Flagstaff’s below-average recycling rate. The city’s residents and businesses currently recycle about 14 percent of their waste, but the national average is 34 percent, according to the city.

Jones said training citizen experts is just one piece of Flagstaff’s strategy to reduce per-capita waste generation.

The city also plans to replace recycling and trash cans downtown with more than 30 dual-stream trash and recycling bins, which is significantly expand the recycling infrastructure in that area, said Jones. The new bins are expected to arrive in February.

Jones said new marketing materials are also planned. They will be focused on teaching people what to do with common materials that many think can be recycled but actually can’t, like paper cups or milk cartons.

Other programs will address food waste prevention and low recycling rates in multifamily complexes.

“We’re trying to approach it from a variety of angles,” said Jones.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, https://www.azdailysun.com/


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