Recycle Utah is adapting: Overnight recycling hours and an Earth Day celebration with social distance
At a glance
Recycle Utah has flipped its opening hours to maximize social distancing practices for employees. The center is open to receive recyclables overnight from 5:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Earth Day turns 50 on Wednesday, and Recycle Utah is having a party.
The annual fundraiser might be subdued compared to previous years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but even if there won’t be live music and drinks at the Wasatch Brew Pub, there will be a wildflower seed giveaway in front of the center, and the silent auction is already going strong.
The center remains operational and open for business, said executive director Carolyn Wawra, but the hours have effectively flipped.
Recycle Utah is closed to the public during ordinary business hours so the staff can continue its work while maintaining social distance. Recyclers can still drop off materials overnight from 5:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Wawra said the busiest time is right when the center opens at 5:30 p.m. and advised people to wait until near twilight or to head in early in the morning. Recyclers are still asked to sort their own recyclables, which Wawra said they have been doing, the piles often growing huge overnight.
The Earth Day celebration will present an opportunity for recyclers to get rid of some hard-to-recycle items they might stumble upon during spring cleaning, like plastic bags, shoes or glasses.
The celebration is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. If the weather’s nice enough, organizers say, they’ll sit out front and wave to recyclers who stop by and chat with the regulars they haven’t seen in recent weeks. They’ll also be giving out free wildflower seed packets provided by Park City Lodging.
Organizers said the rest of the center will remain closed during the celebration and that only soft plastics like bags from the grocery store and hard-to-recycle materials like ink cartridges will be accepted during that time. More information can be found at recycleutah.org.
Recycle Utah has also been promoting an effort to pick up the litter that has accumulated over the winter, said Eric Moldenhauer, Recycle Utah’s communications and development director, advising people to go outside, get fresh air and clean up their neighborhoods.
Normally, Recycle Utah hosts an annual Earth Day fundraiser at the Wasatch Brew Pub. That’s not possible this year, but many businesses have still chipped in to support the recycling center by offering items for its silent auction, which is available on the nonprofit’s website and will run through April 30.
Items include gift certificates to local restaurants like the Road Island Diner, Sammy’s Bistro and the Mirror Lake Diner; gear from Scott and Storm Cycles; and a night at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. Wasatch Brew Pub is kicking in a $10 gift certificate to go along with every auction item.
Wawra said Recycle Utah has stayed busy through the pandemic, and that demand continues to grow year-over-year. The center processed 200,000 pounds more in 2019 than it did in 2018, she said.
Despite sitting on just four-tenths of an acre, Moldenhauer said the center regularly sees 400 cars per day.
The center has been told it will be forced to move as Park City’s planned arts and culture district takes shape. There is a road planned to run directly through the center’s current site and housing planned just west of it. Timing for the move is uncertain, but Wawra said they’d like to find a way to at least double in size and are looking to find a 2- to 4-acre location to call home.
Moldenhauer said the pandemic has affected the community that has sprung up around Recycle Utah.
“Recycle Utah is … more than just a recycling facility — it’s a community center,” he said.
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