Salt River Project (SRP) provides power and water throughout Central Arizona. Last month, I got to explore SRP's Investment Recovery Services Program.

 First, we went into a large warehouse. There were many buckets, shelves, and bins full of materials. I interviewed Matt Lovelady, the manager of SRP’s Investment Recovery Services Program. Lovelady explains that SRP founded the Investment Recovery Program in 1986 when George Marie had an idea to start recycling and reselling materials. at first they focused on cars and trucks but then moved on to electrical power lines. Today, they resell and recycle a huge number of materials!

What materials does SRP recycle? Every material that SRP recycles is local. Everything they sell can be found in the local community.

The come from SRP’s properties. Some examples of materials SRP recycles are computers, elbow fittings, and even a hand washing station. When I asked Lovelady what was the most interesting item SRP’s Investment Recovery Services Program had recycled, he says “two helicopters.” Another interesting story is that SRP sold 53 wood reels to an ASU student, who used them for an art project. A surprising fact is that porcelain, the material used to make sinks and toilets, is very hard to re-purpose!

SRP started in 1903 after President Roosevelt passed a law called the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902. SRP started as a water provider for farmers and ranchers. Today, they have more than 1 million power customers and more than 2.5 million water users. SRP provides power and water to many cities in greater Phoenix likeTempe and Chandler.

Environmental sustainability is very important to SRP. Investment Recovery is not the only way that SRP makes our community more sustainable. One of their ideas for a community project is the Right Tree/Right Place Program. Whenever SRP chops down a tree, they plant two more trees in places that are safe from power lines. Another thing SRP does to promote sustainability is to reduce waste. By 2035, SRP wants to divert 75% of municipal waste and 95% of industrial waste.

At the end of our tour, we entered an enormous warehouse room filled with tools and buckets of things SRP cannot easily recycle. For example, one of the buckets held a bunch of power meters. These cannot be reused, so they tear apart the power meter, remove all the caps, and they reuse them. This is an example of how SRP is doing everything it can to get garbage out of dumpsters and back in people’s hands to reuse them. This is just one part of how SRP is serving our community goals of “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.”

To learn more about SRP’s Investment Recovery Services Program or buy some of its recycled materials, visit:



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Jenny Dow