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Bailout needed to promote recycling

The Summit County Commission and the Park City Council should provide an unfortunate but necessary financial bailout to Recycle Utah as the nonprofit struggles to continue to accept bottles made of clear and green glass. We are always wary when suggesting that taxpayer money be earmarked for what seem like mini-crises but, with Recycle Utah preparing to stop accepting the glass, it appears that the funding will be of great benefit to the community. Recycle Utah, a nonprofit organization that accepts a range of materials for recycling at its Woodbine Way facility, remains the key recycling organization in Summit County, even with County Curbside and Allied Waste Services holding contracts for residential services. There are oftentimes lines of cars at the Recycling Center as Parkites drop off their old newspapers, bottles and cans. And, Recycle Utah serves as the drop-off spot for goods collected by County Curbside and other private-sector recycling companies. According to Insa Riepen, the executive director of Recycle Utah, the recycling market for clear and green glass has collapsed, leaving nowhere close or inexpensive for her group to bring the bottles. It is unclear when the market will change although some predict that it may be revived within a few weeks. Regardless, Recycle Utah says it needs $30,000 per year to continue its glass operations permanently and without interruption. Park City and Summit County could each grant Recycle Utah an additional $15,000 annually. Such grants would obviously be subject to the same budget-season scrutiny as others and Recycle Utah would have to account for how the money is used each year. Admittedly, the $30,000 seems high compared to the grants and rent assistance that Recycle Utah already receives from City Hall and the county but it would be a smart investment. This, of course, is a Band-Aid solution. The city and the county have to devise a long-term funding source for recycling, independent of market fluctuations. Remember, there is a push, especially at City Hall, toward what the supporters call ‘sustainable communities,’ a notion that encompasses lots of everyday activities meant to reduce a community’s impact on the environment. If Recycle Utah is forced someday to end its collection of clear and green glass, the bottles would probably end up in a local landfill, a scenario that is unnecessary and certainly not conducive to the desire to be a sustainable community.


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