An official at the Arizona DEQ predicts interest in serving on the Recycling Advisory Committee will be high. | EQRoy/Shutterstock

After over a decade, Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality is relaunching its recycling grant program thanks to funding from the state. 

Laura Malone, director of the Arizona DEQ Waste Programs Division, said the program was originally part of the department’s overall recycling funding and included a recycling advisory committee to review applicants. 

“We had a pretty robust program before 2009 where the committee received proposals, reviewed them and then approved that grant funding,” she said. “That ended in 2009 due to other budget issues and priorities, so we are very excited to have funding again.” 

The legislature once again allocated funding to the program, and Malone said the department hopes to give out $1 million in 2024 in grants. 

The DEQ is now re-creating the Arizona Recycling Advisory Committee, seeking applicants to serve in the voluntary role by July 14. The department needs nine people to serve alongside DEQ Director Karen Peters in three-year terms. 

Those involved in private collection, hauling and recycling, along with knowledgeable members of municipalities and the general public are of particular interest for committee applicants, a press release noted. 

Malone said there are already applicants for the committee and the creation is being fast-tracked “because we’re excited to have the money and we need to get the committee in place” to give out the grants. 

She said there is no single particular focus for projects. The DEQ is interested in “anything we can do to increase recycling, to help innovative projects and create a circular economy, anything to keep things out of our landfills, because our landfill space continues to get swallowed up.” 

Interest in both the committee and the grants will be high, Malone predicted. 

“Recycling is something people are still passionate about,” she said. “They need to know about how to recycle. I do know with COVID we’ve seen recycling dip a little bit, but I think we’re on a good path to getting some good innovative projects approved.” 

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