Recycle Utah and Swaner Offer Tips for Reducing Plastic Waste

Jul 30, 2020


A lot of this photo of the Summit County Landfill is made up of plastic.
Credit Summit County



With so many things made from plastic today, Recycle Utah and the Swaner EcoCenter are putting on a virtual presentation Thursday to teach the community how to reduce our use of material that can take hundreds of years to decompose.


At 6 p.m., a free virtual webinar will be held in partnership with Recycle Utah and Swaner EcoCenter. Recycle Utah spokesman Eric Moldenhauer says pre-registration is required.


“We’re going to be discussing alternatives to plastics, cost-effective solutions, challenges of going plastic-free, but also the importance of it,” he said. “In our world there's just plastic associated with everything but it's amazing how much you can actually cut out of your everyday lives and we're going to kind of show people tips on how to do that everything from reusable Q-tips to bamboo toothbrushes obviously reusable bags in the grocery stores, and there's a whole lot more to it than just that.”


Register for the webinar at the Swaner EcoCenter's website or at Recycle Utah.


While plastic can be recycled, most Styrofoam cannot. Moldenhauer says with more takeout meals being served these days, there are ways to avoid adding more Styrofoam to the landfill.


“What we encourage people to do is we have a green business program and you can find that on our website as well,” he said. “Encourage people to shop or purchase dinners or food from those establishments that they don't use Styrofoam. Most are using paper to take out which you can recycle. Or if you are going to a restaurant that still is using styrofoam for their take-out, have a discussion with their managers and see if they'd be willing to kind of change their habits as well. But again, if it's that big block Styrofoam - we’re one of only two places in the state that can take it right here at Recycle Utah – it can't go into your curbside. But the food containers – those unfortunately just have to be thrown out.”


As for in-person cleaning needs, Dumpster Days will return to the center Sept. 24 through 26 and a hazardous household waste day is scheduled for Sept. 26. But if you need to great rid of the waste now, he says you can always haul it to the Summit County landfill at Rockport. 


“If you do have things that either need to go the landfill or if you do have hazardous materials such as paint, oils, gasoline, solvents, things of that nature - they have a program that runs six days a week all year round,” he said. “It’s a great program for Summit County residents to use instead of just waiting for that kind of one weekend a year to be able to come to Recycle Utah.”


He says hazardous household waste is taken for free at the landfill, but there is a charge for other landfill items. 


Moldenhauer also noted that the center is as busy as ever with 400 cars a day coming through. With only five parking spaces, he says there is a wait most days. If you separate and sort your items before you get to the center, it will save a lot of time and get people through quicker.