World negotiations impacting recycling at the local level
Nov 05, 2018 04:52PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
Executive Director of Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District (WFWRD) Pam Roberts visited the Cottonwood Heights City Council on Sept. 11 to update the council on the current recycling efforts.
Roberts began by showing a video from CBS News about the documentary “Plastic China,” illustrating the changing climate of the recycling industry worldwide.
Narrowing that focus locally, WFWRD provides waste and recycling services to approximately 84,382 homes in the cities of Cottonwood Heights, Herriman, Holladay, Millcreek, Taylorsville and portions of Murray and Sandy; the Metro Townships of Copperton, Emigration, Kearns, Magna and White City; and the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County.
WFWRD currently works with two different recycling plants within the Salt Lake area. These recycling plants will take clean recyclable material. However, if the material is dirty or contaminated, it gets sorted out and sent to the landfill.
Earlier this year, the WFWRD provided an online survey to customers, which received approximately 6,000 responses.
One of the questions within the survey addressed the state of recycling. “Recycling processing fees have increased over the past year. There are times when it is more expensive to recycle than to send the materials to the landfill. (Projected cost increases per home/per month are equal to $1.00 to recycle, or $0.75 to dispose at the landfill.) Do you still support recycling services?”
Nearly 80 percent of respondents were still in support of recycling services, while 18.55 percent of respondents said they only supported recycling if it’s less expensive than sending materials to the landfill. The additional 1.54 percent of respondents do not recycle. In Cottonwood Heights, over 90 percent of the 732 residents that responded support recycling.
“If we throw it in the garbage, there’s not an increased cost. That’s just not true,” Roberts explained. Landfill fees are currently $32.85 per ton.
The two local recycling plants will accept material that is uncontaminated. “The cleaner the recyclable items are, the better chance the plant will take it,” Roberts said. “Keep it clean and they’ll take it all day long.”
Additionally, plastic bags are not accepted. Roberts told the council that Kroger will not offer plastic bags, nationwide, within five years.
Councilmember Tali Bruce asked Roberts what residents can do to help the recycling effort.
“Wipe out things like cottage cheese containers so it’s clean. If the product can contaminate papers in the can, don’t put it in. The cleaner the better,” Roberts said.
However, she emphasized using common sense. “If cleaning a recyclable item would take too much water or electricity, then don’t waste one resource to recycle another.”
For more information, please visit wasatchfrontwaste.org/recycling/.
Additional News from the WFWRD
The Fall Leaf Collection Program will run until Nov. 30. Residents can pick up leaf bags from Cottonwood Heights City Hall (2277 E. Bengal Blvd.), Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center (2230 E. Evergreen Ave.), or Whitmore Library (2197 E. Fort Union Blvd.).
Leaf bags can be dropped off at Bywater Park (7420 S. 3300 West).
A glass recycling bin is now available at the Cottonwood Heights Public Works Yard at 3000 East and 6600 South.