Where are all the big blue recycling bins located in the Rim Country? What recyclables can be put in them? Is it OK to bag my recyclables and toss the bag inside them? Why are the bins always full when I come to drop off my recyclables? If the recycle bins are full, can I leave bagged recyclables on the outside of the bins?

Hopefully, after a bit of research into our area recycling programs (and/or lack of), I can answer some of these questions.

There are nine blue recycling bins located throughout the Rim Country area that are operated by Gila County. These bins only accept flattened cardboard and paper and don’t fill up too quickly. They are located at:

a) The Pine-Strawberry School on Pine Creek Drive

b) Payson Elementary School on Rancho Road

c) Julia Randall Elementary School on Green Valley Parkway

d) Rim Country Middle School on Meadow Street

e) Payson High School/Center for Success on Wade Street (two bins)

f) Payson Christian School on Frontier Street

g) Courthouse parking lot near the health department (across the street from the post office)

h) Tonto Basin/Punkin Center county yard

These bins are checked regularly and when full, are taken to the Buckhead Mesa Landfill. Upon arrival, the paper/cardboard bins are emptied into larger bins, compacted and then transported to a Valley recycling center. If, when at the landfill, it’s found that the paper/cardboard is contaminated because people have placed garbage or items other than paper/cardboard into the bins, the entire content is dumped into the landfill.

So only put food-free paper and broken down cardboard into these bins. Also, if these bins are full, please do not place your paper and cardboard outside on the ground. Either take your collection to another bin or come back later.

There are also two additional recycling bins within town that allow residents to deposit a number of recycling materials. The Town of Payson pays Waste Management ($150 per load) to pick up these bins twice a week. One is located in the Payson Parks and Recreation parking lot at Green Valley Park and the other, which used to be in the dirt parking lot south of the Sawmill Theatres complex, has recently been relocated to the fire station on East Rancho Road. These two bins accept the following recyclables:

Clean, food-free plastic bottles and containers, cans, paper, flattened cardboard and paperboard, food and beverage cartons and glass bottles and containers.

Recyclable items are listed on temporary signs on each of the bins. Please read the signs before depositing recyclables. Permanent signs will be in place soon.

Items put into any of the recycling bins must not be in plastic bags. The bags twist and jam the recycling machinery that’s used to sort the recyclables. So, if you collect your recyclables in plastic bags, please empty your bags into the bin.

For these two bins and for the nine paper/cardboard-only bins, do not place any recyclables outside of the bins. Either take your collection to another bin or come back again at a later time. Items placed outside the bins look pretty darn ugly and on windy days blow all over the area.

Recycling is a vital part of respecting our planet. The Waste Management bins always fill up quickly. Usually within 24 hours of emptying, they are filled to the gills again. Maybe having just two bins for multiple recyclable items emptied twice a week for a town of 15,000 people is not adequate. Perhaps we need more bins. Maybe the bins could be picked up more often.

But perhaps a better solution to our recycling needs is to have a roadside recycling program. Other towns in our part of the state have it and it seems to work quite well for them. Show Low, Cottonwood, Winslow, Sedona and Prescott have roadside recycling service.

Maybe it’s time for us to follow suit.

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