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Recycle Utah offers holiday tips during its busiest two weeks of the year

Different types of garbage in boxes. Recycle concept
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Separating your recyclables makes Recycle Utah very happy

With the season of excessive purchasing and packing upon us, Recycle Utah has some tips for minimizing waste – and utilizing local recycling services.

First things first – don’t go to Recycle Utah on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Years Day. They won’t just be closed for the holidays, they will also have what they call a wall of cardboard waiting for you, which is a barricade to prevent you from dropping off while the facility is closed.

But Carolyn Wawra, its executive director, definitely wants to see residents on any other day. And she has suggestions for making your visit to the recycling facility a productive and speedy one.

"The most important thing you can do is presort materials," she said. "You know, if you come to the center with bags of you know, your wrapping papers mixed in with your aluminum cans with your glass with your cardboard, it's gonna take you a lot longer - probably take you about twice the amount of time. And then secondarily, we have a ton of volunteers and a ton of staff and if you open your trunk and they see that they're going to go help somebody who has already sorted and they can get them in and out quicker."

She offered other tips for people trying to reduce the waste they produce during this season and beyond.

Regarding gift wrap, note that ribbons and bows can’t be recycled, so remove them from recyclable wrapping paper. With metallic papers, an easy tests will show whether it is recyclable or contains too much metal to go in with paper: tear a piece of it in two directions. If you can tear it vertically and horizontally, you can recycle it.

Gift bags are very hard to recycle due to being constructed of multiple materials, and better off kept for reuse.

Wawra also asked that people using the facility remember it’s a non-profit that pays to transport stuff you don’t want to places where it can be processed. Last December they spent between $5000 and $10000 to recycle everything people brought to the facility.

"It does cost us a lot of money money to get through this time of year and we do operate as a nonprofit," she said. "So anytime you're able to drop a donation or if that's not within your reach, we do take volunteers this time of year. You know, if you're familiar with our center, our cardboard kind of goes closest to the office and then kind of like a tan container that crushes it. That container can hold 4000 pounds of cardboard and we are really likely to fill it in one day and it does cost us money to get that cardboard down to Salt Lake to get recycled."

Remember it’s a busy time for recycling, so there may be a line of cars.

Note that Christmas trees can’t be recycled at Recycle Utah, but starting Monday Dec. 27 can be dropped off at locations around town, including the North 40 fields at the base of PC Hill, Jeremy Ranch across from the Jeremy Store, Silver Creek at Bell’s Truck Stop, Kamas behind the city building, and Wanship next to the Stockyards. In addition, the Park City Lacrosse Team will pick up and recycle trees. Find them at parkcitylacrosse.org.

Recycle Utah is behind the Boneyard at 1951 Woodbine Way. For more information go to recycleutah.org