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Posts tagged ‘DEQ’

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

Air Quality Bills: 2014 Legislature Wrap Up

clouds

The community had high hopes for meaningful action during the 2014 Utah Legislative Session on air quality. With the session now at an end, our friends at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality posted a nice summary of the bills that passed.

Here’s a quick overview, head over to their newsletter for the full story.

State Fleet

Legislators directed the Division of Fleet Operations to ensure that 50 percent or more of the state vehicles used to transport passengers will be alternative fuel or high-efficiency by August 30, 2018. View the bill.

Electric Vehicles

A House bill amended the current definition of public utilities to encourage businesses to provide charging stations for electric cars. Another bill provides a state income tax credit of $1500 for the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle and a tax credit allowance for a plug-in electric hybrid. View the bill. Legislation modified The Clean Fuels and Vehicle Technology Act to allow electric-hybrid vehicles to qualify for funding for alternative refueling infrastructure. View the bill.

Wood Burn Program

The Division of Air Quality received funding to educate the public about the dangers of wood smoke and help convert homes whose sole source of heat is wood to natural gas or other clean fuels. View the bill.

Medical Waste Incinerators

A Senate bill banned the incineration of medical waste within close proximity of a school or residential subdivision. View the bill.

Retrofit and Replacement Program

This program will help small businesses and individuals by providing grant and loan funds for emission-reducing technologies, including retrofits, repowers, and replacements. The program will also encourage replacement of snow removal, landscaping, and other yard equipment with cleaner alternatives. View the bill.

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Funding

The Department of Air Quality (DAQ) received a one-time, $1.4 million grant that allocated $1 million for Utah-specific air quality research, $300,000 for an inventory and photochemical modeling study in the Uinta Basin, and $100,000 for volatile organic compound (VOC) infrared testing equipment. DAQ also received $400,000 in ongoing funding for four full-time employees to work on Uinta Basin oil and gas permitting and compliance.

The legislature appropriated $500,000 to DEQ for an air quality public awareness campaign in partnership with existing clean air programs such as UCAIR and TravelWise. DAQ received a one-time, $500,000 appropriation to help convert homes that burn wood as their sole source of heat and a one-time, $250,000 grant to educate the public on the hazards of wood smoke. The Clean Air Retrofit, Replacement, and Off-road Technology (CARROT) program received a one-time grant of $200,000 for grants and loans to small businesses and individuals seeking to reduce the emissions from their heavy-duty diesel or small-engine equipment.

Get the DEQ Newsletter

Get the full scoop from the DEQ newsletter and join their email list.