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Summit County Council Raises Recycling Fees and Fines

Summit County Council Members on September 2nd were talking trash. Rick Brough reports they adopted two measures—both are changes for citizens that want to send bulky items to the dump.

The Council set new regulations for depositing items in the county dumpsters—usually remote bins located in areas like Weber Canyon, Samak, or cabin areas up near Highway 150.
Council Member Roger Armstrong told us that some citizens are taking advantage of the dumpsters.
“They’re leaving large items—refrigerators, dishwashers, other kinds of trash, just regular trash that they’re not even bothering to put inside the dumpsters. And they dump them on top of the dumpsters or just leave it on the ground. They’re bringing truckloads of material instead of using it for household garbage, which is what it’s intended for in those areas. They’re bringing truckloads of stuff to dump in.”
He said it’s a significant expense for the county to dispose of those big items.
The county is setting fines for failure to put trash inside a bin--$250 for the first offense, and $500 for the second.
Armstrong said they also don’t want people improperly mixing trash in the county’s recycle dumpsters.
“If you put trash in a recycle bin, it contaminates the entire bin. And when you’re talking about a dumpster which is a lot more material that goes into it, it collects a lot more material, it costs us the same to dump a light dumpster as a heavy dumpster. And if we’re losing a huge volume of recyclables to contamination from one of those dumpsters, that’s not something we wanna see happen.”
Secondly, the Council approved raising the recycling fee for mattresses, from $12 to $18. 
Landfill Superintendent Tim Loveday said that Springback, the only recycling company for mattresses in the state, announced they had to increase their prices as of August 1st.
“We’re recycling about 1000 to 1200 mattresses a year. That’s pretty substantial piece of landfill space that we want to continue to keep out of the landfill. It’s a good diversion that it is getting recycled. I’m not happy about the price. But that’s the break-even for us to be able to be able to continue to offer recycling, unless it was subsidized from the budget.”
He said the mattresses the county recycles are from residents. For business, local hotels or lodges are advised to deal directly with Springback.
According to Loveday, Springback said its action was necessary because the price of steel from the old mattresses has gone down, a Covid impact. He said the company also raised wages and benefits for its employees.
“I pushed back pretty hard. A 50 percent increase in one shot just seems ridiculous to me. But they’re the only game in town. We either pay it or we landfill.”
Council Member Kim Carson said the 50 percent increase is dramatic, but reasonable. And Council Chairman Doug Clyde said that he’s happy to pay the $18 to get rid of a mattress.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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