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SLC Council to discuss proposed mandatory city-wide recycling program

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Posted at 8:49 PM, Oct 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-20 12:51:55-04

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Council is proposing a mandatory city-wide recycling program for larger businesses, apartment complexes and condos.

It’s an answer to requests from business owners and residents in multi-family units to provide recycling services.

The city aims to recycle or compost 70 percent of property owners' waste by 2025 and eliminate waste at landfills by the year 2040.

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“I know in my experience, it seems like a better alternative than just throwing it away,” said John Mueller, owner of plant care service garden store Paradise Palm.

The city’s current residential recycling program is diverting 40 percent of waste to recycling centers. But businesses and multi-family units are only recycling 10 to 15 percent of their garbage.

Debbie Lyons with the Sustainability Department said it’s an answer to many apartment residents’ pleas for a recycling service.

“But also people who work downtown, or work within the city and have been hauling their recyclables back home with them or to drop-off bins and wanting to have access to recycling,” she said.

Lyons said there are exemptions for property owners and businesses that cannot find space for a bin or cannot finance a program.

“And also if you have recycling, if you recycle in another way - like if you have shredding services or greenway services that divert most of your waste in another way,” she said.

Overall, though, Lyons said most people should be able to afford a program.

“Recycling generally costs less than a waste hauling service, so, just because of the economics, you’re not paying a tipping fee at the landfill, and also recycling does generate a little bit of revenue when you sell a package and sell the materials,” Lyons said.

While some property owners are skeptical of the program, others say they’re looking forward to recycling.

“We actually pay for recycling as it is, and if I could off-set that, it would be a huge benefit to us,” Mueller said.

“As long as they give us the tools to do it, and give us the cans and, you know, the dates,” said Ivana Earnest, owner of E3 Modern. “The city needs to make it accessible and semi-easy for us to do.”

The city council will be hosting a public hearing on Nov. 17.

People can comment on the proposal on the city's website before the council votes at slcgov.com/opencityhall.