Salt Lake City

Sustainability

Contact SLCgreen (801) 535-6470 | slcgreen@slcgov.com

Waste & Recycling Rate Increase

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Overview

Salt Lake City is dedicated to providing convenient, accessible, and outstanding waste collection services for our residents and customers. 

Every week, we collect refuse from 42,000 locations around Salt Lake City – primarily single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes. Some small businesses and mid-sized multi-family properties are also part Salt Lake City’s recycling program. 

In addition to offering weekly garbage, recycling, and compost service, Salt Lake City residents can take advantage of curbside holiday tree collection, two annual bulk waste collections through Call 2 Haul, extra compost containers to assist with leaf cleanup and other green waste projects, and free drop-off glass dumpsters. Curbside glass service is made available at an extra charge to those who subscribe.   

We are committed to maintaining fiscal integrity and promoting sustainable waste diversion through our services and programs. 

Crews collected 73,000 tons of total material in 2021 and 37% of the residential waste stream was diverted from the landfill through recycling and composting. We continue to identify opportunities to increase this number. 

Why is a Rate Increase Needed?

The Sustainability Department’s Waste & Recycling Division operates as one of the City’s Enterprise Funds (the Refuse Fund), meaning it is sustained solely through service fees. (While these are collected through residents’ Public Utilities bills under the “Container” line item, please contact the Waste and Recycling customer service team with any questions at 801-535-6999.)

The Refuse Fund cannot be used to support any other City services. Similarly, waste & recycling services are not supported by the General Fund.

Because the cost of doing business rises every year (inflation is currently at 8.5%), Salt Lake City is proposing a series of modest annual rate increases to maintain current service levels. These increases began in July 2021. Prior to last year, the City had not raised the garbage fee since 2014. 

Rate increases will also allow the Refuse Fund to re-establish a minimum operating reserve that allows the City to respond in the event of an emergency. Emergency situations include large-scale debris clean-up responses like the fall 2020 windstorm.  

Cost-cutting measures also continue to be undertaken.

See below for details on the proposed Fiscal Year 2023 rate increases.


Questions? Please contact us at slcgreen@slcgov.com or call 801-535-6999.


Proposed Fee Increases Fiscal Year 2023

The Sustainability Department is proposing the following fee increases for residential garbage container sizes for Fiscal Year 2023. If approved by the City Council, these would take effect in July 2022.

ContainerProposed Monthly FeeMonthly Increase
90 gallon garbage$27.00$3.50
60 gallon garbage$22.75$3.00
40 gallon garbage$17.80$2.30

Please note that residential fees only are associated with the size of your garbage can. Recycling, compost, and Call 2 Haul services are included at no extra charge. You can downsize your garbage container by calling 801-535-6999 or visiting slcgreen.com. 

Proposed Business Recycling Fee Increase (beginning July 2022) 

If you are a business or multi-family property that uses Salt Lake City recycling containers, your proposed monthly fee for recycling service is $9.05/month (an increase of $1.20/month). 

Glass Recycling Subscriber Rate Increase (beginning July 2022)

Please note that subscription service rates for curbside glass recycling are also proposed to increase from $7.00 to $8.50 per month.

Share feedback

The Salt Lake City Council is currently undergoing its annual budget process. There will be two public hearings on May 17 and June 7 which you can attend in person or virtually to offer public comment. Residents may also submit feedback with the City Council by emailing council.comments@slcgov.com or calling 801-535-7654.

Learn more on the City Council FY23 Budget website.

SLCgreen also welcomes your questions, comments, and feedback. Please email us at slcgreen@slcgov.com or call us at 801-535-6999 and we will get back to you!

Where Does Your Money Go?

Residents pay a monthly fee for waste services (see the “Container” line item on Public Utilities bills, as shown below). There are 12 billing cycles per year. Even though you pay for waste and recycling services on the Public Utilities bill, please reach out to our customer service team for questions or feedback at 801-535-6999.

Your waste and recycling service is the “Container” line on Salt Lake City Public Utilities bills.

When averaged per household per month, ratepayer fees support the following waste programs.

Your fees are apportioned to the following waste collection services. “Bulky waste” is Salt Lake City’s Call 2 Haul program (formerly known as Neighborhood Cleanup).

Question: Can’t we just save money by getting rid of the recycling or the yard waste/compost programs?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. A household’s overall waste wouldn’t decrease if the recycling and yard waste bins were removed. Instead, items that were previously placed in the blue or brown bins would now be put in the garbage. Those items would still need to be hauled away, which still requires trucks, containers, and staff. To add to the cost, the previously-recycled or -composted items would now be dumped as garbage at the Landfill, which raises our garbage tipping fees. In the end, costs would NOT decrease proportionately by eliminating the recycling or compost programs. Instead, the City would face higher short-term and long-term garbage costs for all that extra green waste and recyclables being thrown away.

Question: How much material is recycled each month in Salt Lake City?

Answer: Check out our 2021 Year in Review, page 12, for more information on what is recycled in Salt Lake City. Last year, residents diverted 37% of the waste stream from the landfill. This includes green waste & food waste, plastic, paper, metal cans, cardboard, and items from our Call 2 Haul collections.

Question: How much does recycling cost?

Answer: Recycling is a commodity market, so sometimes it returns revenue to the city, while at other times it costs money to recycle. In 2019, recycling tipping fees were 4.8% of total waste & recycling expenses. In 2021, we earned money once again from recycling, helping lower the cost of our waste programs.

2019 Survey Results

In 2019, Salt Lake City conducted a large survey on our waste services to gauge resident satisfaction and seek input on potential changes.

Knowing that maintaining service levels also requires some frequency of rate increases, we also asked residents if they would rather have smaller, annual increases; or larger, less frequent rate increases. Eighty percent responded they would rather have smaller, more regular rate increases. This is the path we are setting on, pending annual approval by the Mayor and City Council during the budget process.

For other responses, please see our summary and the full survey below.

This image shows some of the rates survey results, which are described in text below.
Download this results summary in PDF.
  • We received 6,210 responses to the survey and over 12,000 comments in corresponding open-comment fields.
  • 95% of respondents ranked it as Very or Somewhat Important that the City continue offering curbside recycling.
  • 97% of respondents ranked it as Very or Somewhat Important that the City continue offering curbside compost/yard waste collection.
  • 22% of respondents had used the Call 2 Haul program since its inception with 70% ranking their experience as Very or Somewhat Satisfied.
  • 80% of respondents did not feel the City needs to provide additional green waste collection services beyond what is available through Call 2 Haul and the extra compost container year-round program.
  • 84% of respondents felt that allowing each household to choose the garbage container size they want is a fair way to incentivize waste reduction.
  • 80% of survey respondents supported a small and steady fee increase each year rather than a larger, periodic fee increase.
  • When asked whether the City should be looking at cutting waste services to avoid raising fees as much, 20% of respondents said yes and 65% said no. 15% were unsure.

To see the data visualization of the multiple choice questions in the survey, along with the top comment categories for the open comment fields, download the rates survey results PDF.

In addition to the multiple choice questions, we received over 12,000 responses in the open comment fields across nine questions. The Sustainability Department staff read and categorized each comment. A summary of the most frequent comment categories to the open-ended comments is provided after each corresponding multiple choice question in the rates survey results.

You can view the complete anonymous responses for the open comment field questions below:

Gaps Analysis

Although the response to the online survey was robust, we recognized that more in-depth outreach with certain populations was very important. After analyzing the online survey results, the Sustainability Department worked through a community consultant to engage in focus group conversations and surveys in specific areas.

These included:

  • Capitol Hill Community Council
  • Westpointe Community Council
  • Poplar Grove – Sorenson Community Center
  • 84111 area of west of Liberty Park – Outreach to Liberty Elementary and Community Learning Center

Gaps Analysis Findings

The findings from the gaps analysis were similar to the results from the larger community survey:

  • 51% of residents surveyed had the 90 gallon can, 33% the 60 gallon can, and 16% the 40 gallon can.
    • (The true breakdown among all Salt Lake City curbside waste customers is: 75% of residents have the 90 gallon can, 13% have the 60 gallon, and 22% have the 40 gallon).
  • 64% thought it was fair to have different prices for different sized cans.
  • 82% were satisfied with Salt Lake City’s waste services.
  • 71% use their recycling can weekly.
  • 87% thought the city should keep the curbside recycling program.
  • 78% used the brown compost can.
  • 53% had not used Call 2 Haul.
  • 35% had used Call 2 Haul — all offered positive feedback, with one comment stating that crews did not come when they said they would.
  • 64% preferred the slow and steady fee increase.
  • 10% said a fee increase would be a hardship.

Downsize your garbage can or sign up for glass recycling

To sign up for curbside glass recycling or request a smaller garbage can (we offer 90, 60, and 40 gallon sizes), please call us at 801-535-6999 or visit the online Salt Lake City Public Utilities bill portal.