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SALT LAKE CITY -- Local cities with recycling programs are wishing more people would make sure to put the right materials into the right recycling bins.
Salt Lake City Recycling Program Manager Debbie Lyons says around 20 to 30 percent of the blue recycle bins they have picked up have a mixture of items that shouldn't be in there.
"Most of the problems have to do with either people not understanding the program and using the blue bin as a garbage container, or not really caring," said Lyons.
Because of the problem the city has an enforcement person assigned to walk around and look inside recycle bins.
"We have somebody out checking bins and looking in people's recycling containers. We have identified areas where we have stepped up some enforcement," said Lyons.
Most of the time any unwanted garbage in the recycle bins can be sorted out. Salt Lake City pays a $1,500 monthly fee for the sorting process because of the offenders.
"Worst case scenario there could be a problem where it is wet, dirty, nasty garbage that gets all over everything else in the (recycling) truck, and potentially that entire truck could be contaminated by one person's bin," said Lyons.
In that case the entire load is just taken to the landfill.
Other cities are also dealing with similar recycling issues. In Lehi, city leaders recently went over their green waste recycling program.
Instead of having the green waste, which includes grass and tree clippings, picked up and taken to a nearby service district, the city pays $8 a ton to have it sent to a transfer station where it is sorted. But city officials still call the program a huge success.
Assistant City Manager Ron Foggin tells KSL Newsradio paying $8 a ton is a lot better than people putting the grass trimmings in their regular garbage bins where it costs $30 a ton to haul it to the landfill with the other solid waste.