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West Valley City Journal

City’s recycling plans to change this summer

Apr 04, 2018 03:39PM ● By Travis Barton

Water bottles and milk jugs will be among the recyclable items still accepted once the city’s new sanitation contract begins July 1. (Pixabay)

West Valley’s new sanitation contract will save the city almost $50,000, but also limit the amount of accepted recyclable materials, said Russ Willardson, the city’s public works director. 

The West Valley City Council voted unanimously to award the contract to Ace Recycling and Disposal, effective July 1, 2018. The contract agreement will run for six years with possible extensions for two one-year terms. Waste Management, the city’s current waste contractor, chose not to submit a proposal.

Ace’s proposal includes disposing of the waste by transferring it to the Intermountain Regional landfill in Utah County. This saves the city approximately $48,000 annually according to city documents.

“I think it’s a good economic decision to take advantage of the opportunity to use the other landfill,” Willardson told the city council. For the past 19 years, the city’s disposal went to Salt Lake Valley.

With China no longer accepting recycling due to the quantity of contaminated materials, recycling markets are changing dramatically, Willardson said, and fees are going up. West Valley now won’t benefit from additional sale of recyclables.

As part of the new contract, Ace will only accept certain plastics. Eliminated are plastics 3-7 while 1 and 2 are still accepted. Those numbers are inside the triangle of arrows found on plastic materials. Each number indicates what kind of plastic was used to manufacture the item. The number inside the arrows tells which plastics are recyclable and which are not.

Among the plastics (1 and 2) still accepted are water bottles, soda bottles, milk jugs and detergent and oil bottles. Those not accepted (3-7) include cooking oil bottles, plastic food wrapping, plastic grocery bags, margarine and yogurt containers, straws, packing tape, egg cartons and cottage cheese tubs.

Willardson said plastics 3-7 make up only 2 percent of their total recycle stream collected right now.

“There’s basically no market for those right now,” he said. “If we were to collect them they would be going straight to the landfill.”

In the past Willardson said they encouraged people to recycle. Now their focus is the quality of the recycling stream.

Choosing Ace also means supporting the private sector, Willardson said. “(Ace is) a business in our city and pays taxes in our city. 

Mayor Ron Bigelow told Willardson every resident needs to be informed regarding this upcoming change. Willardson suggested doing so through bills sent to residents. 

“This will go a long way to eliminating contaminants,” said the mayor.