Statewide Recycling Data Initiative

Utah does not have a centralized means of collecting and sharing recycling data, making it difficult to determine how well our state’s recycling programs are working.

The goal of the Statewide Recycling Data Initiative is to provide user-friendly tools that will assess recycling performance by collecting and sharing state-wide data on the amount of waste generated, composted, and recycled. This toolkit will include an interactive map that will help the public easily locate the nearest recycling and waste management facilities.

In January of 2022, we surveyed recycling and waste management facilities on their current practices, challenges, and opportunities for improvement to help guide this initiative.

We received responses from a variety of facility types including recyclers, landfills, composters, an anaerobic digester, and a transfer station.

Overwhelmingly, the response we received was that recycling practices in Utah can be improved by:

  1. better education about what is and is not recyclable to prevent contamination; and
  2. greater support on the local and state level.

Here is a snapshot of what facilities had to say:

“More incentive and education at the city level to do it at home so it never ends up at the landfill.”

—Landfill

“Greater positive public advertisement. We have a very difficult time getting support from our politicians. The local community has heard too much negative and does not truly see the good we all can do with a recycling program.”

—Recycling Facility

“Contamination. There is a balance of effort to keep containers and cardboard clean so it can be efficiently recycled and then deciding when it will go to the landfill because it is excessively contaminated. Some seasonal issues of leaves and garden hoses in the summer and fall included in the recycling stream is a specific issue. Also, there are times when it appears that residential and commercial consumers and employees just throw everything in the recycling receptacles out of their own convenience rather than being more mindful of separating and keeping packaging and materials clean enough to go through the recycling process.”

—Recycling Facility

“Synchronized recycling programs throughout the state. Increased initiatives for education and outreach by the state, including grant programs for rural recycling enhancements.”

—Recycling Facility

To make this initiative successful, ongoing participation is needed from recycling and waste management facilities, including, landfills, recycling facilities, composting facilities, solid waste incinerators or facilities that perform solid waste combustion with energy recovery, and other food management facilities such as those that perform biochemical processing, codigestion/anaerobic digestion, and land application.

How You Can Help

Why Participate?

Questions? Contact

Brian Speer (bspeer@utah.gov), (801) 536-0219
DWMRC Solid Waste Section Manager