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Mayor's message: The Option of Recycling

Article Published 09/20/2010

Sept. 20, 2010

Recycling has been a hot topic lately, so I wanted to share some thoughts concerning this subject.

Over the years, the Layton City Council and administrative staff have discussed the recovery of some waste material such as plastics, glass, aluminum, etc., or what is termed “traditional recycling.” Traditional recycling is a costly service in terms of curbside pick-up. It does not pay for itself. In Layton, it has been estimated to cost about $1,000,000 per year, and although it has been implemented in some Utah cities, it has had mixed results. These municipalities started traditional recycling programs and then discontinued them due to cost and lack of interest. A few years ago, a neighboring city ran into some problems when they implemented a voluntary program because enough people did not participate.

The only way to make traditional curbside recycling financially viable is to force everyone in the City to participate and pay for it. City Councils in Layton have not wanted to do so because it would force people to pay for something only a limited number would use.

A note of interest is that Layton, along with several cities in Davis and Morgan Counties, are currently participating in a huge recycling program that is similar to traditional recycling. Garbage that is collected from homes is burned at the incineration facility operated by Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District. This process produces steam and electricity (garbage recycled to energy). The steam is used to heat buildings on Hill Air Force Base, and the electricity is used by the District for its buildings, with any excess sold to Rocky Mountain Power. The District also has programs for recycling grass clippings and tree limbs into usable soil enhancements. Burning the garbage has reduced the amount of material being deposited in the landfill a lot more than any traditional recycling would accomplish.

A new Energy Recovery Facility that handles traditional recycling has been built near the landfill where those who want to can deposit such things as plastic, flattened cardboard, steel cans, aluminum cans, phone books and magazines. It also takes household hazardous waste, such as paint, paint thinner, stain, household cleaners, fertilizer, unused oil, unused antifreeze, automotive products, propane tanks, gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel. These items are then put in a reuse shed for anyone to take at no cost. No more than 20 gallons of any one item may be dropped off for disposal or reuse, per visit. No fee is assessed to deposit recyclable material at this drop-off station.

As time goes on, there may be changes that make traditional recycling more viable for curbside pick-up; the Council is presently considering that option for green waste. Future City Councils may look differently at the imposition of the cost to the citizens of Layton for traditional curbside recycling. Currently that choice is available, at a cost, only through private vendors.

— Mayor Steve Curtis

For more information about Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District, visit their website online at: www.wasatchintegrated.org.

PDF copies of User's Guides for the Recycling Drop-Off Center and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility can also be downloaded from the website

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