Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City awarded a nearly $1M grant to educate, promote recycling to achieve zero waste by 2040

Dec. 21, 2023

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Salt Lake City is receiving a $954,687 Recycling Education and Outreach grant to implement improvements to the City’s residential recycling outreach program, following a competitive process administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Rain or shine, Salt Lake City’s residential recycling and waste collection program keeps our neighborhoods clean, safe, and healthy,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “This grant will expand our recycling efforts and build upon our work to lead the way on sustainability and stewardship.”

The funding will be administered by the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department’s Waste and Recycling Division, which directs residential recycling collection for more than 42,000 residential homes and 650 small businesses. In 2022, the City’s residential waste and recycling program collected more than 70,000 tons of materials and diverted 37% of waste from landfills through recycling and composting.

In keeping with the Biden Administration’s “Justice 40” initiative, which made it a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution, the Waste and Recycling Division plans to utilize the funding to extend and expand its education and outreach activities with a focus on the Westside, while creating programs that benefit the entire City.

The grant will foster direct partnerships between the Sustainability Department and community-based organizations, schools, and the City’s Youth & Family Division to offer Recycling Ambassador programs focused on the unique stakeholders each organization serves. 

Funding will also be used to add new part-time education specialists to the Waste & Recycling team, partner with the Utah Recycling Alliance, organize dedicated neighborhood collection events, and improve educational materials. Education specialists will also strengthen curbside recycling and compost monitoring on Westside routes to increase collection and reduce contamination. Project rollout is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2024.

“We are thrilled that the EPA selected Salt Lake City for this award,” said Debbie Lyons, Sustainability Department Director. “We’ll use the funding to re-imagine our recycling engagement efforts in close partnership with communities, residents, and neighborhoods. I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas and collaboration emerge and how that ultimately helps improve our recycling program.”  

The Recycling Education and Outreach (REO) grant was created through the passage of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which generated historic investment in the nation’s recycling infrastructure. The EPA selected just 25 awardees nationwide, including Salt Lake City, and will allocate over $33 million in REO grants.

Learn more about the City’s recycling efforts here

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