What started out as a small idea to beautify one of Salt Lake City’s glass collection sites has become a highly-visible statement piece in Liberty Park. To celebrate the importance of glass recycling in the community, Salt Lake City and Momentum Recycling unveiled on Nov. 18 a new dumpster at the Liberty Park drop-off location featuring a hand-painted, wrap-around mural of Utah red rock arches by local artist Josh Scheuerman.
The piece brings a splash of public art to a frequently-used recycling location, trading the basic blue of the original dumpster for a bright mural paying tribute to Utah’s iconic natural landscapes.
“As a native Utahn, I feel responsible for the wild and natural places,” Scheuerman said. “I believe it’s vitally important for new technology and information to help increase recycling alongside local art.”
Except for maybe Earth Day, America Recycles Day is one of our favorites. November 15 is all about Recycling. It’s particularly worth celebrating this year because, even during a pandemic, recycling is one of the easiest and best ways to help the planet.
According to the EPA, Americans have drastically improved our recycling recovery rate – from only 7% in 1960, to 35.2% in 2017. Recycling and composting help us reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources and energy, and prevents pollution. You can find out exactly how much energy is saved when you recycle with this calculator from the EPA! On top of the environmental benefits, recycling also creates well-paying jobs and supports the economy.
In Salt Lake City, we do our part to help improve recycling. With compost and recycling efforts, we are able to divert 42% of our waste from the landfill. In August 2020, we recycled 606.1 tons of your recyclables. Recycling at this rate helps avoid 880 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps save the energy equivalent to powering 79 homes, and the daily water needs of 12,205 people!
If you love garbage trucks as much as we do (and we definitely do!), then you’ve probably noticed the different designs we have on the sides of our trucks. Every time the City purchases a set of new refuse trucks, SLCgreen designs an informational decal to help keep our community up to date about waste & recycling. Whether it’s a reminder to not put plastic bags in your recycling bin, or quotes from famous conservationists to inspire recycling, our truck wraps give us a chance to have some fun and help educate Salt Lake City residents about the importance of proper recycling.
Your inner child will love our latest truck wraps, which playfully remind everyone why recycling is the way to go!
This week, the City has been hard at work clearing roadways and helping with emergency response related to the wind damage and power outages. Here are a few things to keep in mind about debris removal:
City Trees: City trees are located along the parkstrips and medians throughout the city. If there are limbs and debris from these trees that you have collected, please place these materials at the curbside for cleanup.
Trees in Your Yard: If trees on your property have fallen and you’ve started the clean up process, please wait to put these materials at the curb. Residents have a few options for handling this yard waste. The City will be moving through neighborhoods to remove debris. However, this will take some time.
Salt Lake Valley Landfill: If you are eager to remove the waste from your property, we appreciate the help clearing our city. The Salt Lake Valley Landfill has waived the tipping fees for residential yard waste through September 23. Please note that commercial contractors will still be charged for green waste disposal. Also note that lines may be long, so consider going to the Landfill at an off-peak time.
Need help clearing trees? The City has partnered with United Way 2-1-1 to help connect residents with volunteers to help clear heavy trees and branches. Those needing assistance should contact or call 2-1-1.
After not being able to service Tuesday’s routes, our Waste & Recycling teams are back on schedule, collecting waste, recycling, and compost. Make sure to have your containers out by 7 a.m. on your collection day so we can service your home.
As we collectively work to respond to the third emergency Salt Lake City has experienced since the beginning of the pandemic, we will continue to provide information about resources that are available in our community.
The state-of-the-art facility cost the company $17 million to construct at an existing site of theirs located in western Salt Lake City at 3405 West 900 South.
The facility is outfitted with the latest recycling technology and equipment. This matters because consumer material continues to change at a rapid pace — what you were putting in your recycling bin 15 or 20 years ago is probably a bit different than what you’re using it for today. The sheer quantity of recyclable material being processed has also gone up dramatically– and will only continue to grow. So we need facilities that can keep up!
The famous chasing arrows recycling symbol is a powerful tool when used properly. Unfortunately, the little arrows can sometimes lead us off course.
The arrows appear on everything from easily recycled materials like aluminum and cardboard to not-so-recyclable materials like insulation and clothing. The confusion is often linked to the fact that, in theory if not practicality, most materials are recyclable somewhere. But just because an item has the recycle symbol, doesn’t mean it’s recyclable everywhere.
Let’s take a look at the recycling symbol’s history and get the story straight on what is and isn’t recyclable.
Composting is the most local form of recycling. Not only does it help us create a closed loop by turning food and yard waste into new soil, composting helps keep our yards happy and healthy.
Compost puts yard and table scraps to work. By adding important nutrients to the soil and improving water absorption, compost can improve the overall health of your garden. As a result, compost helps reduce the need for harmful pesticides and even helps fight climate change.
Compost is a wonderful tool to keep our yards healthy and reduce waste. This is why the Composting Council’s Research & Education Program has celebrated International Composting Awareness Week for 25 years! This week, from May 3 – May 9, join us in celebrating compost!
Even though we are spending more time inside, we can all take direct actions to help protect the environment this spring.
8 Sustainable actions from the comfort of your own home:
Fix the thing on your Fix-it List: While Utah Recycling Alliance regularly hosts Fix-It Clinics for the more challenging appliances and tools, there are many ways to tackle the smaller tasks from home. Consider sewing that button back on your shirt or tinkering with your old record player. Any small action you take to make use out of the old rather than buying new will help the planet.
Lights Out for Birds: Although Salt Lake City’s Tracy Aviary is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 concerns, you can still show your love for birds. Two-thirds of migratory bird species migrate at night. Take the Lights Out Salt Lake pledge and turn off your lights between 11:00pm and 6:00am during March-May and August-September to help the birds find their way.
Recycle Right: Recycling is one of the most important ways individuals can reduce their impact on the environment. Because there is an expected increase in household waste while residents are practicing social distancing, it’s more important than ever to recycle right. Check out our curbside recycle guides for a refresher. You can also watch this video from Ashley on our Education Team explaining what goes into the blue and brown cans.
Turn Your Garbage into Art: Art projects are a great way to engage with difficult subjects. For example, the Washed Ashore nonprofit turns ocean plastic into beautiful sculptures to draw attention to plastic pollution. Check out Clever Octopus, the local Creative Reuse Center, for more inspiration on how to make use of old materials.
Plant Trees – With Your Phone! You can help reforestation projects through social media. Starting April 22, Cities4Forestsis hosting a global photo contest. They have pledged to plant 1 tree for every photo. Find the participation rules here. You can also try out Forest, an app that keeps you on task and helps plant trees. You even get to choose the species of trees you’re planting!
Go Pesticide Free! As you gear up for spring gardening, help protect the environment by going pesticide free. Take the pledge here! (we will be delayed in delivering a sign to you, but will do so as soon as possible!)
Take the 2020 Census! The U.S. Census helps determine federal funding and resources for our community. Help ensure that Salt Lake City counts! You will receive an invitation with a unique ID number in the mail. This number can be used to take the 2020 Census online. More information is available here.
SLCgreen is excited to introduce Chris Bell, Salt Lake City Waste & Recycling’s new Director.
The Sustainability Department is comprised of two divisions – the Energy & Environment (E&E) Division, which is the policy division that houses our energy, local food, business engagement, internal policy, and communications roles. And then there is the Waste & Recycling Divisionwhich is the operational side of our department. This division is responsible for the daily collection of garbage, trash, and recycling, and other special programs.
So we’re happy to welcome Chris to the Department where he’ll lead the Waste & Recycling Division.
Chris’ career in recycling started almost 20 years ago. He is passionate about using his skills to have a positive impact on the environment and is guided by his philosophy to create a strong legacy of conservation. Chris believes that building a sustainable future is our collective responsibility – and has the added benefit of being good business.
Chris’ work in recycling has taken him from Utah to Colorado to Texas and back. Beginning in paper recycling and moving on though operational and commercial management, Chris is highly qualified in recycling and waste management. He is driven to maintain a strong safety record as well as improve operations to deliver outstanding service to the community.
We are thrilled to have Chris on board to help guide our City towards zero waste and a strong recycling and composting system.
The Waste & Recycling Director oversees 60 staff working to collect garbage, recycling, and yard waste from over 42,000 residents in Salt Lake City.
Join us in giving Chris a warm welcome to the SLCgreen team!
In 2018, China’s National Sword policy forced the United States to stop sending recyclable materials to China. The limitations have led to changes to the recycling process in the U.S., and changes in the market for recycled materials, which has affected the overall financial cost of recycling.
While some materials had been sent to other countries, plastic pollution, as well as improper recycling practices, have caused some recyclers to rethink their approach.
In October of last year, Waste Management, Salt Lake City’s recycling processor,made the announcement that they will not export residential plastic waste. Rather than rely on sending materials to countries outside of China for processing, Waste Management is keeping plastic recycling domestic. Several other companies have adopted similar policies. That means that the plastics you recycle at home will be processed in North America.
By focusing on building domestic markets, Waste Management’s policy will help ensure plastics are properly recycled and that they don’t end up polluting the environment through inadequate processing, containment, or disposal overseas.
Plastics make up 11% of Salt Lake City’s waste stream (by weight). Luckily, Salt Lake City recycles a lot. In June of 2019, we recycled 585 tons of cans, bottles, paper, and cardboard! The city recycles or composts 42% of the waste collected from residents. Recycling is crucial to protecting the environment. Indeed, recycling on this scale helps save trees, water, and energy. Moreover, proper recycling helps prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste Management’s shift to keeping plastic recycling domestic will help make recycling even better. Waste Management acknowledges the specific threat plastic pollution poses to our waterways, explaining that out of all countries, the U.S. is the twentieth highest contributor of marine debris.
Recycling residential plastic domestically helps to reduce the likelihood of this kind of pollution.