The city of Tucson held a Town Hall June 11, updating Tucsonans on the state of the hard-to-recycle program. It introduced the Hefty ReNew program to the public, presented by Director of Sales for the Hefty ReNew program, Paul Benvenuti.

While some Town Hall attendees grabbed orange bags to participate in the program, others like Kevin Greene, a volunteer for grassroots environmental group are opting out due to concerns of where their waste may be ending up.

Were very concerned that the plastic waste that is being generated in Tucson may be sent to a cement kiln or may be sent to a paralysis facility,” Greene said. “The plastic theyre using is gonna generate toxic commissions. Theyre going to generate greenhouse gases.

He said that in his research of the Hefty ReNew program’s past actions, they had sent some of the waste to become cement.

Benvenuti warns that the pursuit of perfection could get in the way of progress.

We do publish where our materials go,” he said. “Some of our material in the past has gone to cement kiln, it’s actually one way we pilot-started those programs. It is a coal replacement. We try to prevent materials and going there. In 2023, the vast majority of our material went to mechanical solutions; we continue to strive to develop more mechanical solutions.

To participate in the program, Hefty Renew says to go to a participating Walmart or Fry’s store. A box of 20 orange recycling bags will cost about $8.00.

The City says their eventual plan is to introduce a curbside option where participants can put their filled Hefty ReNew bags into their city recycling bins for the city to sort.

That has yet to be enacted, so starting July 1, all hard to recycle plastics must be put in the orange Hefty ReNew bags and then into the orange bins at the Council offices for Wards 2,4,5 and 6.