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Utah Department of Environmental Quality offers planet-saving tips for Earth Day

Posted at 6:35 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 09:12:39-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In honor of Earth Day, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality is sharing actions Utahns can take to protect our air, land, and water.

According to DEQ, making small choices can have a big effect on the planet, and there are many ways to keep the Earth beautiful, clean and safe.

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To reduce pollution, try driving less, opting instead to take public, ride a bike and work from home when possible.

To save our water and keep it clean, reduce usage in a drought, keep vehicles from dripping oil, which can leak into waterways, and don’t tear up ground vegetation near streams and rivers.

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One of the simplest ways to protect the planet is choosing to recycle.

“Making choices to recycle, making choices to reduce packaging and things like that, so that our landfills aren’t filling up as fast, and then of course being careful with our litter,” said DEQ spokesman Bryce Bird.

Last, but not least, dispose of all waste—including electronic waste—properly and responsibly.

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Full list of tips from Utah DEQ:

1. Recycle your electronics responsibly. Our growing use of electronics has created a new environmental challenge: electronic waste, or e-waste.

E-waste contains toxic compounds like lead, mercury, and cadmium that can leach into

soil and water. Find e-waste recycling info by county here: https://bit.ly/3v6yO5E

2. Reduce, reuse, and recycle right.

Reduce your use of disposable items like plastic bags, plastic water bottles, and disposable dishes and cutlery.

Find reusable alternatives to plastic and disposable items.

Recycle right by taking the time to learn what your municipality accepts in recycling containers. It varies from location to location and changes occasionally.

You can find SLC’s yes/no recycling list here: https://bit.ly/3vcG8wr

If your community doesn’t have a recycling program, encourage them to designate an area as a Recycling Market Development Zone. You can learn more about these Zone’s and how they may benefit your community here: https://bit.ly/3gB0Guu

3. Dispose of waste properly! Litter is not only unsightly, as it degrades, it releases chemicals into the environment that can contaminate our soil and cause a number of problems, including having a negative impact on plants and crops.

Cigarette butts, for example, contain arsenic and formaldehyde. If those chemicals enter our soil or water systems, they can be harmful to human and animal health.

It's also expensive $$$ Litter clean-up on Utah state highways costs taxpayers about $2.5 million a year