Recycling FAQ

What are the changes in Recycling and why?

Changes are being implemented in Curbside recycling programs in the following Trans-Jordan Member Cities: Draper, Midvale, Murray, and South Jordan.

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Paper can still be recycled but is not a viable recyclable material in a  single stream / curbside program as it becomes “contaminated” making it difficult to find markets that will accept it.

If you would like to recycle paper you can take it to one of several drop-off locations free of charge.  Refer to the following link for drop-off locations.  

Paper Recycling Drop Off Locations in Trans-Jordan Member Cities

Background on the Recycling Crisis
Hopefully by now, you’ve heard that recycling has changes.  Residents should place only the “Big 3” in their recycling bins: 1) corrugated cardboard, 2) plastic bottles and jugs with a neck, 3) metal food and beverage cans.

But you may not have heard that Salt Lake County is not the only community impacted by recent recycling changes. The “recycling crisis” has created significant challenges for recycling programs across the United States. So, how did we get here?

For many years, well-meaning “wishful recyclers” have incorrectly believed that most things are recyclable. In part, this misconception grew from the waste industry’s desire to facilitate a convenient process for recyclers. The message was: “Put it all in your bin. We’ll sort it later.” Unfortunately, this convenience turned problematic when contamination levels increased. Contamination happens when people place materials in the recycling bin that do not belong. And the largest importer of recyclable materials from the U.S. said “no more.”

Previously, China was the largest consumer of recyclable materials generated in the United States. Growing frustrated by high contamination in imported recycling bales, China announced their “National Sword” campaign in summer 2017. This initiative enforced a crackdown on imported waste and communicated China’s intent to ban most recyclable materials, including post-consumer plastic and mixed paper. Among the changes was also the announcement of a new quality standard prohibiting contamination to .5%, which was significantly more stringent than the previously acceptable rate of 5%. And the hits kept coming. In July 2018, China announced their plan to ban all imported recycled commodities by the end of 2018.

So where does this leave us? Unfortunately, the United States does not have enough domestic demand for recyclable materials to replace the volume China previously bought. Meaning, the market is saturated with more recyclable material than our country can use. An important point to remember is that something can only be recycled if there is a demand for that material, by a manufacturer, to be turned into a new product for consumers to buy.

This big shift in the market caused significant ripple effects, including lost revenues, higher processing and capital costs for material recovery facilities (MRFs), higher transportation costs, fewer outlets for materials and increased stockpiling issues. MRFs (re: facilities that separate, bale and market the recyclables you put in your bin) are now in a financial crisis. A reset is imperative to fix the contamination problem and help make recycling sustainable.

We believe the solution is three-fold: 1) simplicity, 2) consistency, 3) and awareness. We’re simplifying the recycling process by asking people to only place the “Big 3” in their recycling bin. We’re standardizing the message by working with municipalities, haulers and business partners to all follow the same guidelines across the county. And we’re raising awareness by publicizing the need to Be Bright, Recycle Right through an integrated PSA campaign, so people can learn to recycle right. 

We know this is a huge shift for our community, and change will not come overnight. But if we work together, perhaps recycling can be better than it was before. Let’s Be Bright and Recycle Right.

Where can I recycle electronics?

Trans-Jordan Landfill, 10473 Bacchus Highway

Where can Styrofoam be recycled?

Styrofoam is not accepted in curbside recycling but you do have other options for recycling if you are willing and able to make the effort. Most UPS Store locations will gladly take foam packaging peanuts to be re-used as long as they are not the dissolvable variety. ACH Foam Technologies in Murray recycles larger foam packaging like the kind used to protect electronics. Please visit www.achfoam.com for more information

I always carry garbage out to the trash can in garbage bags, is it OK to bag recycling?

NO! Please do not bag your recycling. Plastic bags of any kind do not belong in curbside recycling bins. If you must line your indoor recycling, empty the recycling into the curbside recycling bin without the liner. Some grocery store recycle plastic bags. For drop off locations please visit http://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org

Can I recycle if I do not have curbside recycling?

YES! There are drop-off locations throughout the valley. For drop off locations near you, please visit Salt Lake County Recycling

Where can I recycle batteries?

Trans-Jordan recycles rechargeable batteries free of charge. Murray City Public Works accepts all types of batteries, including alkaline batteries, from Salt Lake County residents. Murray Public Works ABOP Facility is located at 4646 S. 500 W.

Does green waste like yard clippings and wood go in the curbside recycling bin?

No! Please do not put green waste in curbside recycling. Yard trimmings are considered green waste and can be dropped off at the landfill for a small fee for residents who do not have a third green waste curbside bin. Green waste is transformed into woodchips and compost that benefits parks and residents throughout the valley

Why is there no glass in curbside recycling?

Glass is not accepted at the Material Recovery Facility where your curbside recycling is taken. Neither of the two facilities are set up to receive glass and broken glass contaminates good recycling. There are many drop off locations around the valley for glass recycling. Some areas have the option to sign up for curbside glass recycling through Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District for a monthly fee. Visit www.wasatchfrontwaste.org for more information

Can clothing and shoes be recycled in the curbside bin?

NO! Curbside recycling is no place for your wardrobe. Donating clothing and shoes to be reused by charity is a great way to help others, but it will not get their by way of curbside recycling. In fact, clothing and shoes that make it to recycling facilities end up in the landfill as trash

Can Shredded paper be recycled?

No! Please do not place shredded paper in the recycling bin. It will spread like confetti and require a great deal of clean up only to end up being discarded as trash.

Can motor oil containers be recycled?

NO! Motor oil containers are not recyclable. There are many products and packaging that give incorrect prompts to recycle and as a result end up contaminating good recycling. Please dispose of your empty oil containers in the trash. If you have any containers with old oil that needs to be disposed of, Trans-Jordan will accept them for free in the Household Hazardous Waste location

Where can I recycle plastic bags and wrap?

Many stores have drop off bins for a variety of plastic bags and wraps. Visit http://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org to find a location near you

Is wrapping paper recyclable?

Perhaps…Wrapping paper is recyclable as paper only if it does not have any metallic material like silver and gold colors, and if it does not have glitters. It must be free of bows and ribbons. 

Can number 6 Styrofoam containers be recycled?

NO! Styrofoam of any type does not belong in curbside recycling.