Rethinking Waste

Retihink Waste App Banner (3)

The Sustainability Office works to make Flagstaff a leader in waste prevention and recycling. Guiding our efforts is the Rethink Waste Plan, which contains the following goals:

  • Achieve zero waste conditions by 2050. This would mean diverting 90% of the material produced in Flagstaff from the landfill.
  • Reduce overall waste generation.
  • Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Flagstaff's waste and material consumption.
  • Increase participation in waste and recycling services.

The Rethink Waste Plan outlines multiple initiatives in the near term to get Flagstaff on track to achieving these goals. You can read a summary of the goals and initiatives (PDF) or the entire plan (PDF) here. 

Achieving Goals

In order to achieve these goals, the City of Flagstaff is rethinking how we deal with waste and shifting from an emphasis on recycling to a framework that prioritizes preventing waste at its source and reducing the impacts of our consumption, most of which occurs prior to its arrival to Flagstaff. This new framework is known as sustainable materials management. For a deeper explanation of this decision making framework and possible actions, visit the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management page.

Taking charge of Flagstaff's waste and material consumption will not only help the community conserve resources, but recycling and preventing waste can actually be an effective way to reduce Flagstaff's climate impacts.

Waste Reduction

One of the key actions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is waste prevention. This means avoiding the creation of unnecessary waste to begin with. It is the "reduce and reuse" part of the waste hierarchy, and can help Flagstaff residents and businesses save money by avoiding the purchase of new products, recycling when possible, the extending the longevity of existing products. 

  • Learn about City-led waste reduction programs by clicking here.
  • To learn more about how to prevent waste at home check out our webpage
Fix-It Clinic


Recycling provides great benefits to the community including minimizing the use of natural resources, saving money, creating jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and more. Whether you are a Flagstaff resident or business owner, you can find information about recycling services that are offered, what can and cannot be recycled in Flagstaff, as well as opportunities to 

MRF volunteers

Food Waste & Composting

40% of all food purchased in the U.S. is never eaten and much of it goes to the landfill. We can minimize the amount of food wasted through reducing the purchase of excess food, donating unwanted food items, and composting organic materials that can no longer be eaten. 

Bonito Compost Bin