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Cardboard Is Still Recycled, But It Costs A Lot

Courtesy of Recycle Utah


The good news from Recycle Utah is that they still will take cardboard.    The bad news is that it is costing them more, under current market conditions. 


About two years ago, China started to turn away recyclable materials from the U.S.    Recycle Utah Director Carolyn Wawra said in some ways, it’s good that this country is dealing with its own waste.    It creates jobs, and encourages creative ideas to deal with the material.

Still, she said, they are probably spending $6-10,000 more to dispose of cardboard.

At the Recycle Center, they can compact the material for shipment to Salt Lake.    In the past, the value of the cardboard helped pay in part for the cost of shipping.

      “We’re at the point now, that we send that cardboard to get recycled, they weigh it, and they say “It’ll cost you this much to get this cardboard recycled.   So, there’s a little too much cardboard in the market.   The online shopping has gone a little out of control.   And it’s a supply and demand market.   There’s just too much cardboard out there.”

Wawra said she hopes the markets will improve.    And cardboard still has some value.

“All our cardboard at Recycle Utah has value, because it’s so clean.   Y’know, our recycling markets at a point that, the more recyclables that combine, think of your curbside or something, the more combined the recyclables are, the more chance they have to get contaminated.   Maybe, your yogurt container gets your cardboard dirty, and it gets to the recycling center, and your cardboard is all soggy.   That’s gonna be harder to recycle.   Fortunately, at Recycle Utah, all of our cardboard is baled and just cardboard.   So it always goes to the markets, and there’s always a buyer for it, there’s always value in it.”

She said there are ways to cut back on the use of cardboard.   Shop locally, in Park City or Salt Lake, rather than ordering items online that are mailed in cardboard containers

Or if you do shop online, order multiple items at once so they arrive in the same box.

Wawra said in the end, they will still recycle cardboard.

“Recycling one ton of cardboard saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, and 7000 gallons of water.   So if you’re gonna use cardboard, make sure you recycle it.   It does make more sense than throwing it in our landfill.   It’s one of the biggest space suckers in our Summit County landfill.”

Wawra said they have three or four sponsors for the cardboard bin.   She urged residents to donate  to Recycle Utah when they visit the center, or give during the upcoming “Live PC Give PC” event.

Meanwhile, Recycle Utah has another Dumpster Day event coming up next weekend, October 24th to the 26th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

“We have two bins outside.    We have one for yard waste, just like grass clippings, branches, etc.   And then one for large household trash, kinda large items that don’t fit in your household bin.   Maybe think of a wood chair, a kid’s playset that’s not metal.    We have volunteers out there, that if anything is recyclable, we will put it in the right recycle bin.   The things we do not take are refrigerators, car tires or hazardous waste.   Those three things can go to Summit County landfill.   You’re a Summit County resident, and they’re open 8 to 5, Monday through Saturday.”

Carolyn Wawra from Recycle Utah, who added that they will have an electronic dumpster event on the same dates, which will be free, thanks to a sponsorship from Dell.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.