Utahns are doing well on recycling trash, but they can do better.
So said representatives of the Recycling Coalition of Utah on Monday morning at a press conference to heighten public awareness of recycling.The first (and, sponsors hope, annual) America Recycles Day is Nov. 15. Residents of Utah and 40 other states are encouraged to formally pledge, via a card available at Home Depot and other locations, to do better at recycling trash and buying recycled products.
One lucky pledge giver will win the "American Green Dream House," a three-bedroom house made of recycled materials.
"Consumer markets drive the demand for recyclables," said coalition executive director Brad Mertz.
Eighteen percent of Utahns recycle, compared to 27 percent nationwide, which, Mertz said, isn't bad. Still, the average Utahn generates four pounds of garbage daily. With the state's 2 million residents, that adds up to 8 million pounds of garbage daily and 2.9 billion pounds annually.
That's a lot of garbage. Home Depot spokesman Mike Brown calculated it's enough to fill the Delta Center 18 times from floor to ceiling.
Salt Lake County Commissioner Randy Horiuchi and others pointed out what happens to certain recyclables. Milk jugs, for instance, become "plastic lumber" used for decks and fences. Plastic soda jugs become carpet. Tin and aluminum products become other tin and aluminum products. Newspapers become newspapers. Mattresses, shredded up, become carpet pads. And tires become hoses and door mats.
"This is a hummer, let me tell you," Horiuchi said, holding up a recycled door mat. He uses one at his own home. "It works great."