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Posts from the ‘Recycling & Waste’ Category

Dropping Temps and Falling Leaves

Everyday I'm Rustlin

Fall is here in Salt Lake City and leaves are beginning to drop.

This is a friendly reminder to please use your brown compost containers to dispose of leaves. The brown bins go to the compost facility at the Salt Lake Valley Landfill.

Have a lot of leaves?

  • Try composting leaves in your own yard, in a compost can or mulching them into your flower beds or gardens. Read our blog post detailing how and why this is a beneficial practice.
  • Rather than a chore to be conquered all at once, rake enough leaves each week just to fill the can.
  • Temporarily store extra leaves in your yard, in a pile, or in a large sturdy container and feed them into your yard waste can each week.

Extra Brown Containers

Containers can be requested anytime during the year except for February and March when compost collection is temporarily suspended. Read more

Why Glass Recycling is Great

by Nayethzi Hernandez, SLCgreen intern, and Sophia Nicholas

With all the news of recycling markets changing, as we discussed in our previous post, it’s more important than ever to practice Reducing, Reusing, Refusing (single-use products) and Recycling Right.

So it’s worth thinking about how we as consumers can make a difference and shift our habits to consume different products with less packaging and more recycling-friendly materials.

That’s why we’re excited to talk about glass!

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Glass bottles ready to be turned into something new!

In Utah, we’re fortunate to have a local glass recycling facility, Momentum Recycling. In Salt Lake City, you can participate by signing up for curbside pickup! You can also take your glass to a convenient drop-off location.

With nearly 5,600 subscribed households, 78 active drop-off areas, and dozens of businesses participating in glass recycling, the Salt Lake City community is already headed in a very sustainable direction. Read more

Let’s Talk about Recycling

You may have heard that much is changing in the recycling world these days. For the last couple decades, China has accepted the majority of the world’s recycled materials– whether that’s plastic, paper, cardboard, or metal.

Our recycling programs evolved over that time to encourage more and more recycling of more and more items, with not so much attention focused on “contamination.” Contamination means that there are items in the recycling load that shouldn’t be there (like garbage or leaves or shoes or hoses . . . you get the picture). It can also mean that otherwise recyclable items are dirty and therefore unusable (oily pizza boxes for example).

Meanwhile, our society has continued to progress towards more packaging, more disposables, and more single-use items.

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There’s a lot of recycled material being processed every day in Salt Lake City! Help us minimize contamination by only putting accepted items into your blue container.

 

Globally, we produce upward of 448 million tons of plastic each year, 40% of which is destined only to be used one time. What?!?!

But if we threw those plastic plates or cups in the recycling, that was okay, right? Throwing something in the recycling bin became the equivalent of not even using it in the first place! 

But now China has effectively stopped accepting the world’s recycling and the U.S. is left with a lot of material and a system that isn’t designed to deal with newer, stricter materials standards.

Municipalities across the country are grappling with what to do. Some have had to drastically amend their recycling programs or cancel them. (See also “What the Chinese import policies mean for all 50 states”)

In Salt Lake City, disruption of our recycling program has so far been minimal. Read more

The Salt Lake City School District Saves Energy and Conserves Resources

By Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern

Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!

Greg Libecci of the Salt Lake City School District chronicles some of the achievements he’s helped realize after nine years as the Energy and Resource Manager for dozens of schools. His work led to the school district receiving a 2015 Mayor’s Skyline Challenge Award from Salt Lake City. Thanks for all you do Greg!

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Greg Libecci, right, stands near solar panels being installed at Hillside Middle School in Salt Lake City.

School’s out this week, but that doesn’t mean Greg Libecci takes the summer off.

His role as Energy and Resource Manager means he works year-round to identify and implement energy efficiency projects to save the Salt Lake City School District energy and money.

What led him to this role?

After several years of working in corporate sales for a telecom company, Greg began to notice energy waste everywhere. Things that were not being used were often left on, racking up unnecessary expenses and negatively impacting the environment.

He was certainly on to something with these observations, since the excessive consumption of energy resources worldwide is recognized as an important contributor to climate change.

Greg was drawn into the sustainability field because he saw how simple it could be to prevent unnecessary energy use. He was excited by the solvable nature of the problem.

When the Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD) created the Energy and Resource Manager position nine years ago in an effort to save the District money on utility costs, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Greg to pursue his newfound passion for energy conservation.

Not only would he have the opportunity to directly implement important sustainability initiatives at a large organization, but he would also have the chance to work with students, something that remains an extremely rewarding part of his job.

Since Greg took the position, the school district has seen huge reductions in energy and natural gas use. In comparison with their baseline year of 2009, 2017 saw an 11% decrease in electricity use and a 23% decrease in natural gas usage.

This translates to a 4,400 ton reduction of CO2 emissions for 2017! Read more

Check Out our New Trucks!

truck wraps

Help us make SLC Plastic Free by keeping plastic bags out of curbside containers. Say no to single-use bags and yes to reusable!

By Jack Hurty, SLCgreen intern

 

Salt Lake City’s often under-appreciated workhorses are getting a makeover – and an educational one at that. Six of our recycling trucks recently received a new body wrap, pictured above.

Their visibility is key to educating the public about what can and cannot be recycled.

There have been big changes rocking the recycling world lately and plastic bags are one of the most significant sources of “contamination.”

Besides these bright new wraps, the trucks are state-of-the-art waste management machines.

Not only do they run on low-emission Clean Natural Gas (CNG) and clean diesel, but they are equipped with an on-board trash compactor, an array of cameras, and a mechanical arm to pick up and empty recycling bins.

Every week, these trucks travel to all corners of the city, making sure that our waste is taken care of.

Read more

Get Your Compost!

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by Ardyn Ford, spring intern

Bring Your Own Beverage Bucket!

There is a great new way to get locally produced natural fertilizer for your home lawn or garden! The new “Buck a Bucket” program launched this spring by the Salt Lake Valley Landfill will sell five gallons of compost for $1 to anyone who supplies their own bucket. The promotion ends July 31, 2018.

Better yet, this compost is made from our very own green waste that’s put into the curbside compost cans every week.

It’s high-quality stuff and has been certified by the U.S. Composting Council.

Compost Buck a Bucket Picture

Through July 31, bring a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with compost for $1!

Read more

Recycling: This Earth Day, Let’s Get Back to Basics

It’s #EarthWeek in Salt Lake City! We’re excited to bring you a range of content to inspire action on behalf of our planet. As part of that, we were excited to contribute a blog post to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality about recycling. There have been some changes in the industry in the last year and it all reminds us to “get back to basics: reduce, reuse, and recycle right.” Read on!

Contamination Plastic Bags

Plastic bag “contamination” at a local recycling facility. Help us reduce, reuse, and recycle right!

by Sophia Nicholas, SLCgreen Communications Manager

Recycling is one of the most common sense practices to conserve resources and care for the Earth.

So this Earth Day—let’s get back to basics and take a deep dive on what’s going on with recycling these days and what you as an environmentally-conscious person should do to “recycle right.”

Did you know that most of the items you put in the recycling bin get sent to Asia to be processed into new material? Those water bottles get turned into fleece, cardboard into paper bags, and milk jugs into . . . new milk jugs.

A large majority of this material is processed in China.  Or, I should say, was.

You may have heard that China is no longer accepting the world’s waste as of January 2018. They were previously processing roughly half of the world’s plastic, metal, and paper recyclables. Their ban is part of an effort to clean up their environment and not become the home of “foreign garbage.” We applaud China’s strengthening of their environmental laws, policies, and procedures.

However, in the short term, the Chinese ban is causing recycling vendors and processors worldwide to search for new markets for some of the material China no longer wants. This includes lower-quality plastics and paper. China also doesn’t want “contamination”—which refers to non-recyclable items being mixed up with recyclable items, as well as dirty and unwashed recyclables.

READ MORE ON THE DEQ BLOG