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!
Salt Lake City’s waste & recycling survey closed earlier this month. We are grateful for all of the feedback– we received nearly 6,200 responses, which is a record!
Now our team is busily combing through over 12,000 of your comments. We plan to compile these into a feedback summary in the new year. Stay tuned!
Waste & Recycling Tips
In the meantime, we’ve been reading a lot of questions about Salt Lake City’s waste & recycling services. So we thought this would be a good opportunity to share some answers, links, and helpful resources:
Go even further with waste diversion when you use the brown compost can for yard trimmings AND kitchen scraps. This includes veggie and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and paper filters, tea bags (no staples or string), and eggshells.
Does recycling even matter?
Yes! It absolutely makes a difference. For example, in June 2019, Salt Lake City residents recycled 585 tons of cans, bottles, paper, and cardboard. To put this in perspective, this saved the equivalent of 5,732 mature trees, 2,238 cubic yards of landfill airspace, enough water to meet the daily needs of 41,625 people, and enough electricity to fulfill the annual needs of 175 homes! All this recycling helped us avoid 2,027 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes for cleaner air too.
Multiply those numbers by 12 and you have the average impact of Salt Lake City’s curbside recycling program over the year. You are making a difference–thank you!
Glass is one of the best materials to recycle. Not only does glass recycling help stimulate the local economy, glass can be recycled endlessly. Indeed, 80% of recovered glass is recycled into new glass bottles. The rest is turned into industrial materials. Momentum Recycling, Utah’s glass-only recycling facility, provides a critical service to our communities by taking care of our glass and moving Utah closer to zero waste.
Salt Lake City prides itself in our commitment to sustainability, and recycling is the first and most basic tenet of that commitment.
This commitment to sustainability and recycling is why we have gradually increased the number of services offered to residents over the last several years from curbside recycling to compost to glass recycling. It’s also, in part, why we introduced the Call 2 Haul program last year to achieve greater diversion from the landfill.
Resident waste, however, only accounts for about 40% of the total amount of material being generated. That’s why we also have a construction and demolition recycling ordinance (targeting 9-10% of generated waste) and a business & multi-family recycling ordinance passed in December 2015 to target the rest. The latter went into effect in January 2018.
The business recycling ordinance is not aimed at small properties or businesses, nor those properties which provide lower-income, Section 8 housing. Instead, it is focused on the medium- to-large properties that are creating more waste.
More specifically, a business or property in Salt Lake City that generates more than four cubic yards of waste per week is required to offer recycling. This is approximately equal to eight, 96-gallon curbside containers and is roughly what multi-family properties with 15 or more units, and businesses with 10-15 or more employees, would produce.
Spread the Word
Only 10-15% of business waste was recycled before the ordinance went into effect. That number is gradually increasing, but we’d like your help!
Are you aware of a business or multi-family property that is not offering recycling? Let us know!
Simply fill out this form or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll contact them to follow-up.
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
With the closing of the Shopko store in Sugarhouse and new construction occurring, that glass drop-off location is now CLOSED. Please see the map above for the Fairmont Park location just 1-block away.
Salt Lake City Green is working to build out a network of residents who are trained and certified Master Recyclers who understand all aspects of waste reduction, city services and bin downsizing options.
Master Recyclers commit to attending eight weekly workshops running from May-June 2015. Classes are scheduled for Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m.
Workshops will cover a variety of topics and emphasize opportunities for hands-on learning. Every workshop includes a field trip for a behind-the-scenes look at the Salt Lake County Landfill, Salt Lake City Sanitation, Rocky Mountain Recycling, landfill composting operation and Momentum Glass Recycling. You’ll even “tag” along with Salt Lake City’s can inspection team!
What’s in it for you?
Recognition as one of the first certified Master Recyclers in Salt Lake City (awesome plaque included!)
A tote bag full of Master Recycler swag, including t-shirt and stainless steel water bottle.
The knowledge to help your friends, neighbors and kids maximize your recycling & reduce your impact on the environment.
Fiberglass insulation has become a major end market for recycled glass cullet. Fiberglass insulation utilizes clear and green colored glass for manufacturing due to its low iron content. Owen’s Corning has recently opened a new plant in Nephi, Utah and is accepting the majority of the clear and green glass that is processed onsite at Momentum Recycling.