The popularity of Payson's two-week-old curbside recycling program has increased so rapidly that already the company that handles it, Arizona Recycling Curbside Specialists, is making plans to increase its Wednesday and Thursday pick-up schedule to five days a week.
"We'll be going to five days as soon as we get another 300 or 400 accounts on board," said Dick Taber, a consultant for, and the originator of, the Valley-based ARCS, as well as the father of the company's president, Tyler Taber.
Right now, he said, "We're right at 400 homes. But the number is growing quickly. Our phones have slowed down a little bit, maybe because we're in the middle of the holiday season. But once people get started with (the recycling program), I think it's going to spread. We keep picking up new accounts as we go. "
Another plus for Rim country recyclers, which is already available, is that Payson resident Maria Fritz was recently named the company's area supervisor, and is now armed with a local phone number to field customer questions and sign up new accounts.
Some area customers complained that when they called the company's Valley telephone number, they often got a busy signal or no return call after leaving a message.
For that reason, some have speculated, locals have been getting the idea that ARCS has been picking up more local recycling materials than it can chew. But that is not the case, Taber said.
"Things are going great. I have no complaints," he said. "The routes have been smoothed out, we've got people knowing when they're going to get picked up, we're getting them to get their bags out on time ... so it's working out real well."
With one exception.
"Please tell people to not put paper plates, paper towels, tissue or plastic bags out for pickup," he said. "None of that is recyclable, but we're getting an awful lot of it."
Also untrue, Taber said, are rumors that there is a lengthy waiting list.
"If you signed up today, you would get bags next week, and the following week (your recyclable materials) would get picked up," he said.
The program, which has been endorsed by the Town of Payson, is known as a "two-bag system." Participants put newspapers, magazines and junk mail in clear recycling bags and bottles, cans, aluminum and plastics in blue recycling bags. When the bags are removed by ARCS, new bags are left for the following week.
The system has won numerous awards, including the 1991 Indiana Governor's Award for best recycling program.
Two major advantages to the program are that it is available Rim country-wide, and it is expected to reduce pressure on area landfills. Tyler Taber has estimated that as much as 16 tons of recyclables can be diverted from area landfills each week if the program is used by 80 percent of area residents.
Residents who wish to sign up for the program, which costs $19.20 per year, can do so by calling Maria Fritz locally at 476-5990, or sending a check for $19.20, along with your phone number, to ARCS, 16443 S. 43rd Street, Phoenix, Ariz. 85048.
As proof of the program's effectiveness, Dick Taber notes that over its first two weeks in Payson, ARCS has hauled roughly four tons of recycling out of Payson.
"That's about what we anticipated, because people had been building up their recyclables and had an awful lot at the outset," he said. "This week, the amount of material has been a bit less, because people got rid of that big buildup."