Salt Lake City

Sustainability

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

Why Did Salt Lake City Change Neighborhood Cleanup?

Click here for Call 2 Haul homepage.

a better neighborhood cleanup postcard image

 

A Better Neighborhood Cleanup​​

After more than 25 years in operation, the Neighborhood Cleanup (NCU) program was ready for an upgrade to better meet the needs of all Salt Lake City residents. Our focus in the redesign was to create a program that would offer an equitable, accessible and convenient bulk item(s) collection service for all Salt Lake City residents.

While Neighborhood Cleanup served some of us well for many years, it was no longer meeting our regulatory or community needs. In addition to the public input, we also have other requirements and priorities for changing the program.

 

Water quality and environmental protection

  • The Neighborhood Cleanup piles were problematic for stormwater and the water quality of our rivers and streams, particularly the Jordan River.

  • Stormwater is any runoff that makes its way down a traditional storm drain or gutter. Unlike household and institutional wastewater, stormwater is NOT treated. Everything that goes in the gutter ends up in the Jordan River and eventually into the Great Salt Lake.

  • The Jordan River is classified as “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act for several pollutants, including Low Dissolved Oxygen (DO). Low DO results from sediment (soil and dirt) and organic matter (grass clippings, leaves, etc.) making their way into the Jordan River from area stormwater and other non-point sources. As this organic material decays, it pulls oxygen out of the water and thereby harms aquatic life.

  • Other material left in the gutter or on the curb for extended periods of time– particularly household hazardous waste– while prohibited, was often placed out by residents and harmed water quality.

  • Finally, the Neighborhood Cleanup piles, particularly those containing organic material and small loose items, could clog gutters and storm drains, leading to localized flooding.

Appearance of neighborhoods

There was a considerable difference in how Neighborhood Cleanup impacted west side and east side neighborhoods. Unfortunately, NCU led to illegal dumping and other program violations (e.g., type of material, quantity of material, duration piles remained out) in west side communities in such a way that enforcing or preventing infractions was almost impossible.

Increasing recycling and diversion from the landfill

Neighborhood Cleanup – with many mixed piles of debris – did not allow the City to maximize recycling and diversion.

Redesigning the structure of the program allows us to collect, recycle and properly dispose of a wider range of material that our residents have been requesting – namely electronic waste and tires.

 

Year-Round Program 

The new program will enable residents to have a year-round option for requesting a collection, instead of being locked into a once-a-year schedule solely set by the City

 

Survey Options

Salt Lake City staff conducted extensive research into bulky waste collection programs offered across the nation. After 12 months, City staff determined that four potential programs would meet regulatory and community needs.

A survey to collect input on NCU and these four options was open to the public from August 2017 to September 2017. Results were analyzed and helped inform the City’s decision on the new program. Options included:

  1. Implementing a Call to Haul program (fits within existing Neighborhood Cleanup budget)

  2. Moving to a dumpster program (double the cost of existing program)

  3. Eliminating the bulk waste program and offering residents landfill vouchers to self-haul material (half the cost of current program)

  4. Creating and enforcing stricter regulations around the existing Neighborhood Cleanup Program (increased budget impact due to greater enforcement efforts)

All options would require that waste be containerized and set-out time limited to avoid material entering our waterways.

 

Survey outreach included:

  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) digital survey open for 42 days in August–September 2017

  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) survey notices placed on approximately 45,000 residential curbside containers

  • Link to survey posted on City social media accounts and promoted in newsletters

  • Survey postcards distributed around the city

 

Results overview:

  • 4,091 responses were received from Salt Lake City residents

  • Survey respondents were presented program options and asked to choose which they prefer:

    • 49% chose Call-2-Haul

    • 41% chose the current program with increased restrictions

    • 6% chose the dumpster option

    • 4% chose landfill vouchers

You can view full survey results here.

Additional Comments

In addition to the nearly 4,100 people who submitted surveys, over 1,000 filled in the optional comments.

We compiled these comments with others that came in from social media, NextDoor, and our Waste & Recycling phone line. A summary of these comments can (PDF).

 

Survey Results Infographic

NCU survey results infographic

 

Call 2 Haul Selected

Evaluating feedback and examining the above criteria, Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department determined that, of the four options, the Call 2 Haul program could best meet our city’s environmental, community, and budgetary needs.

We also believe the new program will also offer residents many more conveniences compared to Neighborhood Cleanup, including proper disposal of electronic waste and tires without having to transport them elsewhere; greater scheduling flexibility; and reduced illegal dumping.

      Call 2 Haul: Link to How to Use page

      Call 2 Haul: Link to FAQ page

 

We appreciate your feedback, suggestions & questions.

If you have further questions on this program, please email slcwasteandrecycling@slcgov.com or call Salt Lake City’s Waste & Recycling line at (801) 535-6999.