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West Valley City Journal

Contaminating recycling could mean losing your blue can

May 14, 2018 03:59PM ● By Travis Barton

Plastic bottles ready for recycling. (Pixabay)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Putting contaminated material in your recycling can may lead to it being removed once the city’s new recycling program begins July 1 with Ace Recycling.

For that to happen, a resident would need to violate the can’s rules four times. City code gives authority to remove recycling cans. Under the new program’s rules, first and second violations would receive warnings but the cans would still be dumped; a third violation is a final warning and the can wouldn’t be dumped and a fourth violation means removal of can and recycling privileges suspended for six months.

Residents would still be charged for the service and would need to take education training to have the can reinstated.

Public Works Director Russ Willardson explained to the city council in March that recycling contamination is a nationwide problem and the increased cost to process contaminated materials could end recycling programs in the future.

China no longer accepts recycling due to contaminated materials causing fees to rise around the country.

A campaign to educate the public is underway, an informational flyer was sent to residents in May with their bills. June and July will feature a combination flyer with recycling and new hauler information. The city previously contracted with Waste Management for garbage and recycling disposal, but will switch to Ace Recycling starting July 1.

The flyers will include a graphic of what items are allowed in the blue recycling container and what are not.

Allowable items include paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel cans and plastic bottles and jugs.

Items not allowed include glass products, Styrofoam and other plastics, coated paper containers, soiled paper products and plastic bags and plastic wrap.

Mayor Ron Bigelow was happy with the graphic on the flyer. “This is a huge improvement, this is great work,” Bigelow told Willardson during the April 24 study meeting. “It’s better than anything I’ve seen on national websites or on websites of the recyclers.”

After an inquiry from Councilman Steve Buhler, Willardson said that the informational flyers can be printed in Spanish as well.   

Recycling is collected twice per month, but areas will be inspected four times over a two-month period to monitor the materials deposited in cans.

Willardson said the city is no longer picking up garbage cans for those who don’t pay their bill. This frees up manpower to inspect recycling cans and put out notices without costing any further money to the city.

You can download a PDF version of the flyer below.