Arizona Recycling Curbside Specialists, the Valley-based company that operates Payson's five-month-old curbside recycling program, has shut down for two weeks for what the firm's president calls "routing reorganization."
During that two-week reorganization period, the company will not make its regular pickups.
The company plans to make several changes, Arizona Recycling President Ty Taber said. For starters, the company will expand its two-day-a-week pickup schedule to five days a week starting March 14 or 15.
"We want to make sure everyone's in tune and that we have everything in place before we just go ahead and throw our team into the (new five-day schedule)," Taber said.
Explaining the reorganization, Taber said, "We're taking the current customers that we have for the Wednesday and Thursday routes, and we're breaking those down into five days. We just have too much business on those two days."
When the company is ready to resume service, all Payson-area customers will be contacted by telephone and assigned a pickup day, Taber said.
"We're going to try to get as many of our customers as possible on their same trash pickup day. That way, we can add accounts as they come along and evenly spread those across the five-day route."
Payson Town Councilmember Barbara Brewer, who has been in regular discussions with Taber on the reorganization, said that once the program resumes, "each area of town will have a designated (pickup) day; some may change, some will not."
The award-winning program, which has been endorsed by the Town of Payson, is known as a "two-bag system." Participating residents 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 Arizona Recycling, new bags are left for the following week.
Taber has estimated that as much as 16 tons of recyclables can be diverted from area landfills each week if the program is utilized by 80 percent of the area's residents.
Taber said he also hopes to open a recycling center in Payson within the next six months to increase local employment opportunities and eliminate the need for Arizona Recycling trucks to haul recyclable trash, which averages about 2 tons a week, to the Valley.
"It's nothing definite, but it's very possible down the road," he said.
One thing that would help make that possibility a reality, Taber said, is more customers.
"We now have about 500 in Payson and the surrounding areas, but that's not even 10 percent of the current customer base. If we can get that up to 25 or 30 percent, or in the 2,000 or 3,000 unit range, it would be more profitable for us."
But, said Taber, Arizona Recycling's reorganization has nothing to do with the financial end of the business.
"We're definitely not going anywhere," he said. "We're just reorganizing things and hopefully, with people's participation, we're going to make this program a good thing for Payson and the whole area.
"We definitely want to stay, and we definitely want to make it grow, because people do want to recycle there. We've made the commitment to the whole town to make this investment in Payson but just like any other business, you have to have the numbers to make a profit."
Although Arizona Recycling's local customer service number is not being answered, it will be back in service as soon as the company resumes service, Taber said. Until then, customers with questions, or noncustomers wanting to sign up can call Arizona Recycling's Valley telephone number, (480) 759-1437. The cost of the program is $19.20 per year.
Newcomers also can mail a check in that amount, along with their phone numbers, to ARCS, 16443 S. 43rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85048.