Park City has a plan to keep recyclables out of the landfill
Park City has a plan to cut down what’s being sent to the dump with a new proposed waste reduction ordinance.
The Summit County Landfill is running out of room.
Tim Loveday, Summit County Waste Superintendent, said the current dump site, cell 1, has about two years left. Permits are already being pulled for cell 2. The price tag to expand the dump: about $3 million.
While Utah’s dump fees are some of the lowest in the country, building a new landfill is not cheap. And unlike other areas of the state, space in Summit County is limited.
“We're not like a lot of other counties. We don't have another place to go build the landfill,” said Loveday. “So pretty much what we have, as a resource, is finite. When these landfills are full, it's going to be very difficult for us to site one. So we'll be in a situation where we have to transfer waste out, which is very expensive.”
So what’s taking up most of the space in the dump? Stuff that’s actually recyclable.
Summit County’s Solid Waste Master Plan, published in 2018, found that 63% of what’s sent to the Three Mile Landfill was easily divertible and, ultimately, 80% could be diverted or recycled.
Loveday said about 23% of what’s taking up landfill space is food waste. Another big problem is cardboard, which takes up 5% to 8% of the landfill.
“There's a lot of low hanging fruit that we can reach without having to necessarily go all out. And I think Park City is doing that and we're in the right direction right now,” said Loveday.
Park City is proposing a waste reduction ordinance that focuses on keeping food waste, green waste and recyclables out of the landfill. The plan is based on Salt Lake City’s waste reduction ordinance that was enacted in 2016.
Park City’s Environmental Sustainability Manager, Luke Cartin, said it's a common sense approach to waste management that’s long overdue.
“This is a fairly basic level waste reduction concept that has been instilled in dozens of cities around the U.S.,” said Cartin. “So this isn't a huge push, this isn't an over the top push. It's really just kind of saying, ‘Hey, let's, let's just stop throwing everything into the garbage.’”
The city’s plan is three-fold. It focuses on waste generators, waste haulers and special events.
Under the proposed ordinance, waste generators, those businesses and multifamily complexes that create more than 95 gallons of trash per week, would be required to contract with authorized haulers to provide recycling, food waste and/or glass recycling bins.
Haulers would have to register with Park City, which would include describing what they haul and where they haul it to.
And finally, any special events regulated by the city would be required to provide food waste, green waste and recycling containers. Large events would be required to divert 80% of their waste from the landfill.
“The overall goal on all this is not to be overly burdensome, or all these other things we want to work with, you know, the business districts, the retail, the multi-families, all these other folks to figure out, ‘Hey, how can we actually help solve this? How can we actually do this the right way?’ So again, we can lengthen the life of our landfill,” said Cartin.
Cartin said his goal is to have the proposal back before the city council this fall.