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Posts tagged ‘plastic bags’

Your Waste & Recycling Questions

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!

Bales of aluminum at a recent visit to the local recycling facility that processes SLC’s residential recycling.
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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:

What’s recycled in SLC? 

SLC is dedicated to keeping recycling and compost available. Residents can recycle clean and dry plastic containers, cardboard and paperboard, aluminum cans, and paper in the blue curbside containers.

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!

Recycling matters— this topic was the inspiration behind our newest truck wraps.


New recycling facility coming to Salt Lake City this spring

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Washed Ashore: Art Exhibit at Hogle Zoo Emphasizes Plastic Reduction to Save Our Waterways

by SLCgreen intern Sarah Hogg

Today the Hogle Zoo launches a new animal exhibit, but these animals are a bit different from the rest.

The exhibit’s animals are made up plastic debris washed up on the shore of the Oregon coast. The colorful sculptures make a bold statement about plastic pollution in our oceans and its impact on marine life.

From May 24 to September 30, visitors to Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo will come face to face with fifteen sculptures built entirely out of plastic trash. The sculptures are located throughout the zoo grounds. 

Artist and art educator Angela Haseltine Possi created Washed Ashore to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic within the ecosystem. Possi spent many summers on the beaches of Oregon when she was young, which fostered her love of nature. But over time, she noticed the massive amounts of plastic and trash that washed up on the shore. Possi decided to educate herself about plastic pollution and the impact it has on marine life. Her research inspired her to help in the way that she knew how—by creating art.

And so, the Washed Ashore Project was born. Volunteers who work on the Washed Ashore Project join forces to clean up beaches on the Oregon coast, process the debris, and then create the sculptures representing marine life. To this day, over 10,000 volunteers have contributed to this ongoing project.

The exhibit travels across the country to educate viewers about the dangers of plastic waste in our oceans to the marine life, and what they can do to help.

Each of the animals on display represents an animal impacted by marine debris. For example, one of the sculptures is a billowing jellyfish. Hungry sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish– a staple in their diet. The mistake can be deadly for the sea turtles. This piece serves to spark conversation about the negative impacts of plastic bags and the importance of reusable alternatives.

Jellyfish sculpture.
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YouthCity is Saving the Planet One Reusable Bag at a Time

Students in the YouthCity program at Sorenson Unity Center care about the future of our planet and our community!

YouthCity is a Salt Lake City Division offering programs for children and young adults ages 8-19. They have many offerings throughout the city, including after-school and full-time during the summer. The programming is designed to foster positive youth development in an inclusive and caring environment.

This year, YouthCity ran a Session of Service program to explore and take action on issues affecting our community, with staff and students collectively brainstorming ways to get involved.

So far, they have completed several impactful projects focusing on air pollution, homelessness, and plastic pollution.

We want to highlight one project in particular . . .

Making Reusable Bags

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Should you use “compostable” disposables?

compostable disposables (1)It’s the New Year and you may have made it a goal to waste less and recycle more. That’s great!

A common question we receive here at SLCgreen is about so-called “compostable” or “biodegradable” disposables. 

What are they? Are they better than regular disposables? Can they go in the brown curbside compost can?

At first blush, they seem to offer a great solution–the convenience of single-use bags, plates, cups, and utensils — with a supposedly more environmentally-friendly footprint.

However, the truth is more complicated.

That’s because, as it turns out, these single-use ‘bioplastic’ products are just as bad for the environment as the regular single-use plastic products they were meant to replace.

So what is bioplastic? Read more

Why Do We Check Recycling Cans?

 

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Hi! One of SLC’s Recycling Education Team members checking a container.

You may have seen a recent story in the Salt Lake Tribune that follows SLCgreen’s Recycling Education Team on a visit around our neighborhoods checking recycling containers. The piece does a good job of giving an overview of the purpose of our Education Team, but we’d like to give you some additional context.

The Education Team works in Salt Lake City’s Waste & Recycling Division and is comprised of five dedicated and passionate employees whose sole job it is to educate the public and improve recycling behavior. We never fine anyone, and our team works hard to be customer-service oriented, friendly, and professional.

The team is out and about each week, across the city, checking cans, leaving materials, and having conversations with people about recycling. They’re also some of the faces you see at community events, festivals, markets, and classrooms across SLC.

Their work is a critical part of our effort to make sure we are recycling as much as possible in the Salt Lake City community– and that we’re “recycling right.” 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.

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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.

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