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Community Outreach Specialist

Community Outreach Summary 2017

Community Outreach Specialist

Rosemary Washington out & about talking to residents of Salt Lake County.

The below article was written by Momentum Recycling “Amglassador” Nate Keyes:

 

Who are those people knocking on doors in reflective vests? What could they possibly be trying to sell us now? And why are they always on their phones? These are all common questions that run through the minds of Salt Lake City residents as they see Momentum Recycling’s Community Outreach Specialists out in their neighborhood. From one resident to another, I’m here to remind you why we interrupted that Monday night dinner.

Essentially, the job is to sell Momentum Recycling’s residential service, that is, residents’ very own 35-gallon glass recycling bin to be emptied monthly. Call it a cliché, but a Community Outreach Specialist does so much more. Tasked with the responsibility to educate our community on how to best recycle their glass, but equipped with the ability to downsize one’s garbage, residents are always in for a pleasant surprise when they answer their door. “How would you like to save a few extra dollars on your next garbage bill?” is not usually what people expect to hear from the “salesperson” at their front door.

This year alone, our canvassing efforts helped 432 residents sign up for the curbside glass recycling program, as well as saved 608 people between $39 and $87 on their annual garbage bill by downsizing the size of their trash can. These glass signups will help to divert thousands of pounds of glass from entering our Salt Lake County landfills each year.

 

For this year’s outreach campaign, we started using a mobile app so to be 99% paperless, which has proved to be not only the right choice environmentally, but also convenience-wise. With our mobile app, signing up for glass recycling and/or downsizing one’s garbage is as swift as the tap of a button!

However, going door-to-door in a city like Salt Lake isn’t always easy. Hilly streets, uninterested and even annoyed homeowners (sorry we caught you at a bad time!), extreme heat and bad air quality days are all barriers to a productive day. Despite the periodic struggles, the Community Outreach Specialist Team is too passionate about solidifying glass recycling as a normalcy in our community to let these obstacles stand in their way!

 

 

How to encourage your neighbor to recycle their glass: remember to highlight not only the benefits they will receive, but the good they will be doing for the local community as well. Because it’s a service that will make their lives easier, but at the end of the day, their commitment to recycling glass creates jobs, saves money, and reduces pollution in our community. If there’s one thing we have learned from going door-to-door, it’s that residents don’t like to pay for something that’s not absolutely necessary. But here’s the catch: when homeowners downsize their garbage bin, the savings they receive can actually more than offset the price of the curbside service!

 

Glass Recycling Public Drop-Off Locations Around Salt Lake County

However, if your neighbor still isn’t sold on the convenience of their own bin, make sure to emphasize that they can still recycle their glass for free. Direct them to any number of our public drop-off locations, where they can find the location closest to their home, on their commute, or even on a lazy day at the park.

 

 

Here at Momentum Recycling, we strive to be at the forefront of both operations and outreach. Although canvassing has proven successful, we are always open to suggestions for alternative methods of spreading the word on glass recycling. Moreover, we’re working on bringing a few new ideas to fruition that will be sure to wow you. Stay tuned for updates!

 

Want to get involved? – – Great!  Please check out our jobs + opportunities for more info.

Business & Multi-Family Ordinance

Increasing Recycling in Salt Lake City

Business & Multi-Family Ordinance

The below article was written by Momentum Recycling “Amglassador” Ryan Goforth:

Increasing Recycling in Salt Lake City

A new Salt Lake City ordinance that passed on December 8th, 2015 is requiring businesses and multi-family complexes that produce 4 or more cubic yards of waste per week to recycle.

The reason for the ordinance is that businesses and multi-family residences produce half of all waste in Salt Lake City but only recycle 10-15% of that waste. This ordinance capitalizes on a huge opportunity to reduce the amount of waste in our landfills and recover important resources that would otherwise have to be mined from the Earth. Once the ordinance was enacted, waste haulers had 6 months to become authorized, while business and multi-family complexes will have 2 years to start recycling. After those 2 years when recycling among these businesses and residences becomes widespread, it is estimated that more than 20,000 tons of recyclable material will be kept out of Salt Lake landfills. This will help to increase the life of an already stressed system of landfills across the valley.

The ordinance states that these recycling services must be easy to access for customers and tenants so as to make sure that landlords and businesses cannot circumvent the ordinance. However, commercial properties without enough space for a bin can request to be reasonably excluded.

Certain representative groups for commercial properties are concerned about the ordinance and feel that it will put stress on their budget by forcing them to make renovations to their properties, costing them money. Another reason that commercial properties might not be inclined to recycle is because trash disposal rates are very low for Salt Lake City. Low waste disposal costs incentivize people to send more to the landfill rather than to recycle.

However, the long-term savings of increasing recycling would eventually make up for any short-term costs that might incur. Even though tipping fees are relatively cheap currently, they do add up over time, especially with a large amount of waste. When commercial properties are required to recycle, they will send less to the landfill and so be charged less in the long run.

This ordinance is a positive step in the right direction toward creating a more sustainable city and making Salt Lake a more appealing place to live. I hope that in the future Salt Lake will continue to be a champion for recycling and continue the move toward zero waste!

Mixed Recycling Bin

Why Can’t Glass Go in the Mixed Recycling?

Mixed Recycling Bin

The below article was written by Momentum Recycling “Amglassador” Ryan Goforth:

Why Can’t Glass Go in the Mixed Recycling?

             One of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I have a degree in environmental studies is “Why can’t I throw glass in with my other recyclables?” The answer I usually give is, “It’s complicated” – but, I gave this answer because before working for a recycling company, I only really knew the basics of why.

Before beginning my internship at Momentum Recycling, I looked into why recycling in Utah is split between glass and everything else. What I found is that it really isn’t all that complicated after all. I found that it makes sense to separate glass from the other mixed recyclables for several reasons.

One of biggest benefits of sorting glass at home is that it reduces the costs of separating the glass later. This is significant because those costs are often later transferred to the producer of that trash, which is us. In sorting our glass out beforehand, we can reduce the cost of our waste. But perhaps more importantly, we can enhance the quality of recycled material in the long run.

When you have a single stream recycling system in which all recyclables go together, the glass will inevitably break apart into tiny pieces. These tiny glass fragments get mixed in with the other recyclables, such as paper, and are essentially impossible to get out (think of a needle in haystack). This leads to a decrease in the quality of materials recovered, which translates to fewer options for potential outlets/products.

Why is this a problem? If a recycling process is able to create products that are of higher quality and can be turned into a larger variety of products, then this decreases the need for virgin materials. With single stream systems, the material that comes out is often not as high of quality as the material that went in. This means that more raw materials must be taken out of the Earth. This costs a vast amount of energy and resources that could be left alone if we just spent the time to sort our recyclables beforehand.

Of course, there are also drawbacks to separating glass out of the waste stream. The main one being that people don’t want to separate their recyclables and so end up sending more to the landfill. However, by limiting the amount of trash people can throw away or by charging them for how much they send to the landfill, you can make sure people will sort their recyclables. People would much rather spend a little extra time sorting than paying more money.

Single stream recycling is at a crossroads. There are so many different recyclable materials used today that material recovery facilities (MRF’s) are unable to effectively sort them all out properly. Glass, plastic bags, and food waste all create problems for recycling systems and we could make these systems considerably more efficient and effective by moving toward multi-stream recycling. Here in Utah, by not throwing our glass into the mixed recycling bin, we can produce much higher quality recycled materials while at the same time capturing more glass for recycling.