Though any decision is still a long way off, North Salt Lake is beginning to consider a curbside recycling program for the city. Recently, the city council heard from a representative from Waste Management, which is handling the Bountiful recycling program, where he answered questions from the council and outlined some of the variations that a city recycling program might take.
“It’s amazing to me how much garbage is recyclable,” said North Salt Lake Public Works Director Rod Wood, who lives in Bountiful and has recently started curbside recycling at home. “Our recycling can is already one quarter full, while our normal garbage can has only about four inches in the bottom.”
Waste Management representative Greg Walkenhorst described some of the options that the company could offer the city, starting with a mandatory citywide program.
According to him, recent hits in the commodities market would mean that the company could only offer North Salt Lake residents a $3.85 a month charge for the citywide program, nearly a dollar more than it charges Bountiful (to which they are already under contract. North Salt Lake Mayor Shanna Schaefermeyer said that she would also check out Wasatch Integrated Waste’s pricing, who recently signed a contract with Davis County and would possibly offer the city the $3 charge.
Another option offered was opt-in recycling, which Walkenhorst said would need at least 20 percent of the city’s residents to sign up in order to get off the ground. Reaching this number is generally seen as a challenge by cities, particularly within the Waste Management system where people wouldn’t then be allowed to opt out again after they’d signed up.
Subscription curbside recycling is already available to residents in North Salt Lake and other Davis County cities through private companies, though their monthly costs average about $10, $4 more than Waste Management’s subscription estimate.
Large recycling bins placed throughout the city were also listed as a possibility, though Walkenhorst said that such bins are difficult to maintain and often get filled with non-recyclable garbage and liquids that start to stink in the heat.
“It used to be that a lot of the stores had those recycling bins, but there were too many complaints,” he said. North Salt Lake used to have plastic recycling bins in Hatch Park, but removed them this February.
Though the city has not yet moved far enough along in the process to schedule a public hearing, some North Salt Lake residents are already interested in sharing their opinion about the possibility of curbside recycling in the city.
“My belief is that the way a city handles its waste says a lot about it,” said North Salt Lake resident David Cleveland, who got up during the open comment period of the meeting to speak out in support of the city starting a recycling program. “All I ask is that you look at all the options very carefully and take the time to educate the public.”