From Summit County’s Solid Waste Superintendent, “Please recycle your cardboard!”
September 20, 2023
The increase in mail order and consumer packaging has dramatically increased the amount of old corrugated cardboard (OCC) being dumped at the Summit County Three Mile Canyon Landfill in Coalville. Tim Loveday, the County’s Waste Management Superintendent, states that this is a “real problem and it’s frustrating.”
The problem? Like any other landfill garbage, breaking down OCC produces greenhouse gas. Also, compacted OCC takes up about two and a half times more space when compared to other compacted waste– 700 pounds of OCC compared to 1600 pounds of other waste per cubic yard. Dumping OCC is shortening the projected thirty-five-year lifespan of the landfill by one year for every ten. There’s room for four more double-lined pits or “cells” on the property. One is needed now, and Loveday has requested 3.3 million dollars in the County’s 2024 budget to create it.
Especially frustrating is the fact that when OCC is recycled it earns municipalities and recyclers money. Loveday says Summit County has made money on it in past years; this year they are breaking even. Curbside recycling is capturing 39% of residential OCC, which means we are still dumping about 60% of it. Households that don’t have or use curbside recycling must take their OCC to Recycle Utah or to the landfill where if separated out, it is easily placed into on-site OCC-only dumpsters for recycling. Still, landfill staff see users throwing OCC into the mixed trash dumpsters. Throw away enough OCC, and you’re throwing away money. The message to recycle OCC is an old oft repeated one. Loveday is still asking us, perhaps with more urgency, to sort and recycle your old corrugated cardboard!
By Bev Harrison