Utah County cities and towns are looking for better ways to deal with waste. For starters, the South Utah Valley Solid Waste District is building a new Environmental Recovery and Transfer Center in Spanish Fork and Provo is drafting a new sustainability plan for the town. SUVSWD broke ground for its new transfer station at the end of April, after more than a decade of anticipation, according to Terry Ficklin, general manager at SUVSWD. The new station, like the current transfer station in Springville, serves Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Mapleton, Salem, Woodland Hills and Goshen.
The current station was designed to process 400 tons of waste per day — and is currently getting more than 1,000 tons a day, Ficklin said. The new transfer station is expected to be ready in 2024. Along with state-of-the art equipment for safe disposal, the station will have a designated space to educate the public about solid waste. Education is key to reducing waste, according to Brigham Daniels, an environmental lawyer and professor at Brigham Young University.
“[Recycling] is the right thing to do, but of all the right things it’s not the most right thing to do,” Daniels said. The most important thing, he added, is “finding ways to reduce the garbage we’re producing — to be cognizant of that thing.” Recycling is part of the effort, though, according to local studies. The SUVSWD station has received about 200,000 tons of waste for landfill and 6,000 tons of recycling a year, according to Ficklin. Due to contamination issues, donating plastics with no market value and other factors, about 30% of the recycling taken to Salt Lake City for processing gets sent back to SUVSWD for landfill disposal.