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40% of Salt Lake City’s trash should end up in the recycling bin instead

Jan 10, 2020, 8:02 PM
Salt Lake City recycling...
About 40% of items thrown in the trash in Salt Lake City...should actually be recycled. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY – Plastic water bottles and containers, Aluminum cans, Paper, Cardboard, and Glass. They make up 40% of the waste people in Salt Lake City throw in the trash, even though these items should be put in the recycling bin.

This is according to the city’s Sustainability Department, which tweeted out the statistic on Friday.

If the city is not able to divert the items, they could end up in a landfill.

But why are people misplacing so many recyclable items?

Department Communications Manager Sophia Nicholas thinks people can get confused when other cities cut back on recycling.

“When things change a little bit [in other places], even when it’s not a huge change, it’s confusing to people [here],” Nicholas says.

Other reasons people are hesitant to use the recycling bin include the recent changes in China and India’s acceptance policies, as well as some reports over the years questioning the advantages of recycling.

“People might not feel like it’s worth it to separate their recyclables,” Nicholas says.

But Nicholas argues that recycling is worth it for environmental reasons and as a source of income for the city.

The department is also using this as an opportunity to remind people that recycling rules in Salt Lake City have not changed that much recently.

“The only thing that we’ve restricted in the last couple years is just plastic bags and film…Anything that’s [in] weird packaging. Usually, a lot of those Amazon envelopes or things that you get in the mail aren’t really recyclable,” Nicholas says.

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40% of Salt Lake City’s trash should end up in the recycling bin instead