Public-Private Partnerships Pave the Path to Prosperity
In 2013, Phoenix Mayor and City Council members announced Reimagine Phoenix, a citywide sustainability initiative to divert 40 percent of residential waste from the city landfill by 2020. This initiative focuses on development of public and private partnerships, offering new solid waste services and increasingeducation and community outreach centered around transforming trash into resources. In Fiscal Year 2014-2015, the City partnered with Cascadia to conducta waste characterization study that identified nearly 2/3 (65.3%) of residential solid waste consists of material that can be diverted from the landfill through recycling or composting programs. The results of the waste characterization studyidentified organics as a significantopportunity to assist the City in achieving its diversion goal, and led the City to closely evaluate the feasibility of developing organics diversion programsand constructing a compost facility.
The City implemented Phase Iof its residential curbside green organics program and implemented a discounted gate rate program for landscapers delivering clean green to the transfer stations. In January 2015, the City began a food scraps pilot compost area at the 27th Avenue Transfer Station to divert food scraps collected at City sponsored special events beginning with Super Bowl XLIX. Through October 2017, the pilot compost area supported diversion of food scraps from other City sponsored zero waste events, Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix Convention Center and private haulers.It also allowed City staff the opportunity to learn a negative aeration composting process until the City completed construction of itsnew compost facility, located at the City’s Resource Innovation Campus.
Through the City’s design and construction partnershipswith local firms includingArrington Watkins Architects,Brycon Construction and Green Mountain Technologies, the 27thAvenue Compost Facility was designed with a Turned Aerated Pile Technology with an aerated pad and computer controlled reversing positive/negative aeration. The team also designed the facility to capture all of the process and stormwater onsite to be reused in the first five zones of the mass bed. This was one of the sustainability features that ledthe facility to be the first solid waste infrastructure project in the United States and the first project in Arizona to earn Envision recognition from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. The Envision system rates sustainable infrastructure across the full range of environmental, social and economic impacts.
The City partnered with WeCare Denali to operate the compost facility, and market and sellthe finished compost producedat the facility. The 27thAvenue Compost Facility construction completed in April 2017 with the capacity to process up to 55,000 tonsof inbound organics per year initially with an option toscale itup to 220,000 tons per year in the future with additional construction. WeCare Denali began commissioning the facility in June 2017 and began marketing and selling the finished compost produced from the facility in Fall 2017.