Correct recycling urged during holiday season
Dec 08, 2016 03:19PM
By Travis Barton
Compressed aluminum cans at Waste Management, which recycled 628 tons in West Valley City in July. (Waste Management)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
With the holiday season nearing and lots of packaging, boxes and wrapping paper set to fill bins by the truckloads. West Valley City, in conjunction with Waste Management, is increasing its campaign to “Recycle Often, Recycle Right.”
Recycling in West Valley City is mandatory for all houses and complexes where a 96-gallon blue container is given.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve and educate,” said Margo Aleksandrovich who’s in charge of public outreach for the recycling program.
The program aims to focus on the basics of recycling with three main guidelines officials hope residents will follow. Those guidelines include recycling the correct items, keeping those items clean and dry and no grocery bags.
Aleksandrovich said the program is high on the Public Works Department agenda. She dedicates most of her time to improving the public’s understanding of recycling.
“West Valley City, being the second largest city [in Utah], we could really make a huge difference if our recycling is done right,” Aleksandrovich said.
Part of the problem, Aleksandrovich said, is the amount of contamination seen in recycling bins, which can ruin an entire load. Average contamination rate in 2015 was 25 percent, a figure Waste Management would like to see drop to a 15 percent maximum.
“[People] put certain items that belong to the landfill or certain items that can be reused or donated such as clothing or grocery bags,” Aleksandrovich said. Additionally, dirty items such as food or liquid in containers can also ruin a whole load of recycling.
Grocery bags in particular are so light that they don’t stay in trucks. Aleksandrovich said she urges residents to return grocery bags to their retailer to be recycled in bulk. She said one of the most important things for people to do is educate themselves on the items that can and cannot be recycled.
Part of the department’s outreach has been attending fairs and events around the city to inform the public. With such a diverse population in West Valley City, Aleksandrovich said they are trying to bring every culture to the same understanding.
“We are trying to reach out to every household speaking different languages and coming from different cultures…because who know what kind of cultural differences people might have [regarding recycling],” she said.
Aleksandrovich said the great thing about recycling is that residents have nothing to lose.
“Recycling is very important and you should just take a shot at it. There’s nothing to be afraid [of] and nothing too difficult about recycling so they should just try,” she said. Recycling generally increases in winter months and Aleksandrovich said she hopes to maximize the amount of recyclable materials.
The department is in the process of auditing their recycling to determine the quality of the city’s recycling stream.
Waste Management reported in July that it recycled 628 tons of bottles, cans and paper/cardboard in West Valley City. WVC partnered with Waste Management in 2011 for sanitation services.
Property owners are charged a basic garbage service fee of $14.50 monthly. The service includes one garbage can, one recycle can and monthly bulky waste collection with a $9 charge for each additional garbage can and $3 for each additional recycling can. Recycling containers are picked up on a biweekly basis.
For more information on the city’s recycling, go to www.wvc-ut.gov/recycling.