South Jordan’s official recycling page has answers to your recycling questionsNov 11, 2020 11:32AM ● By Mariden Williams
By Mariden Williams | [email protected]
In response to widespread confusion about what can and can't be recycled in curbside bins, South Jordan's public works employees have been mounting a recycling education campaign. The latest step of this campaign has been to create a massive interactive list of recyclable materials and frequently asked questions, viewable at www.sjc.utah.gov/recycle.
The big dos and don’ts of curbside recycling in South Jordan? Do recycle plastic bottles with necks, aluminum or tin cans, cardboard and non-coated paper. Do clean any residue off of your recyclables before you put them in the bin. Don't put in any foods, liquids, glass, Styrofoam, electronics or plastics that are not necked bottles. Don't bag your recyclables.
One of the biggest areas of confusion is the area of necked plastic bottles. Many people have been taught to look for the little numbers that identify the sort of plastic a container is made of. The rationale is that some numbers or kinds of plastic are recyclable, and some kinds are not. But this is not completely true. Two containers might have the same number and be made of the exact same kind of plastic, but one of them could be recyclable while the other was not.
Whether a plastic item can be recycled, South Jordan's recycling information page explains, is determined mostly by its shape and thickness. Thinner, flimsier containers are just too difficult for most facilities to process, even if they're made of a plastic that is theoretically recyclable. Necked bottles, however—think soda bottles, laundry detergent bottles and milk jugs—are nearly always recyclable, regardless of the type of plastic they're made of. Their lids can also be recycled, provided that you screw them on tightly before putting them in the bin.
"The bottom line is that recycling facilities are designed with larger items in mind, such as bottles and jugs, cans, paper and cardboard. Plastic bags get tangled in the machinery, and small items fall through the gaps between belts and gears at various stages of sorting. Small items can also simply blow away," South Jordan's recycling information page states.
But just because an item can't be recycled in your curbside bin doesn't mean that it can't be recycled at all. Many grocery stores have drop-off stations for recycling plastic grocery bags, and it doesn't matter where the bags originally came from: You can recycle Walmart bags at Smith's, and vice versa. Many shipping stores, such as UPS, will happily take and reuse unwanted packing peanuts.
Specialty recycling services exist for many hard-to-recycle items. There are many glass recycling bins scattered throughout the valley, including four in South Jordan. Liberty Tire Recycling takes tires. SpringBack Utah takes old mattresses. Numerous other such services exist, all listed on South Jordan's recycling information page.
Taking your recyclables to a specialized service is a good way to make sure they get recycled, instead of just going straight from your recycling bin to the landfill. The Trans-Jordan Landfill is a for-profit business and only recycles what it can sell. If it already has too much of a certain recyclable, it gets tossed and wasted, even if you sorted it correctly. If you have a big mountain of paper to recycle, for example, consider taking it to a GreenFiber bin. Instead of possibly overloading the landfill and being wasted, it will be repurposed by a local company that turns paper into insulation for houses.
Making sure recyclables actually get recycled can be hard and sometimes frustrating. But to quote the South Jordan's official recycling page: "Recycling is complicated—it is heavily influenced by economics, foreign recycling markets, and technology. We know our residents want to do what is right when it comes to recycling. So, we’re doing everything we can to educate you when changes happen. Really, if you try your best, you are making a difference and helping us reduce what goes to the landfill."