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Group of volunteers sorting through recyclable waste.

Extending the usability of waste materials

One of the five key pillars within our 2035 Sustainability Goals is waste reduction. We’ve enacted many initiatives at SRP to recycle, reuse and repurpose operational waste materials to contribute to a circular economy.

What is a circular economy?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes a circular economy as reusing or redesigning materials to extend their life cycle. This practice promotes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, making it a great focus for SRP’s sustainability goals.

How is SRP reducing waste?

We’ve found ways to repurpose materials used within our offices and out in the field to extend their life cycle.

Turning cable into concrete

Through research with the University of Arizona’s SMART (Sustainable Materials and Recycling Technologies) Laboratory, we’ve found a way to repurpose old electrical cables from our grid. 

“SRP is proud to invest in projects with our state universities to not only encourage innovation but also find ways to improve our day-to-day operations.”

— Chico Hunter, SRP Manager of Innovation and Development 

Through these collaborative efforts, we’ve been able to chop the old cables into small pieces, recycle the copper and aluminum, and incorporate the plastic cable jacketing into a concrete slurry mixture. This creates a new slurry that would be a great choice for backfilling trenches on construction projects because of its strength and resistance to cracking. The collective cable recycling process is forecasted to divert more than 1200 tons of waste from the landfill.

Composting paper towels

One of the ways we recycle in our office buildings is through paper towel waste. Bins were added to our bathrooms to collect used paper towels, which are then transported to a local farm where they are added to compost and used to grow seasonal produce and herbs. 

“SRP’s composting program was started to reduce the impact of a significant source of office waste: paper towels. Composting has sparked positive conversations at SRP about ways that we can reduce our landfill waste, which is critical in achieving our 2035 waste reduction goal.”

— Ana Lopenowski, SRP Senior Sustainability Analyst

Converting gloves to chairs

Plastic gloves are also being repurposed. The Laboratory team collects used plastic gloves in their department and ships them to The RightCycle™ Program where they will be converted into pallets and turned into consumer goods like chairs.  

“The program provided a unique opportunity for the laboratory to divert thousands of gloves annually from the landfill. In the first three years with the program, we have successfully diverted 138 lbs. of used nitrile gloves from the landfill.”

— Trina Erickson, SRP Laboratory Supervisor 

Sustainability in practice

Reducing waste is just one of the five pillars of our 2035 Sustainability Goals.

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