The remote City Council meeting on July 28 started with an update from Lehi’s contracted garbage removal company, Waste Management. Lehi residents saw a waste fee increase in January after the City renewed its long-term relationship with Waste Management.
The Council was given two different rate options during renewal negotiations in late 2019, including a straight rate increase or the option for a flex rate increase tied to the city’s recycling performance. The straight rate increase would have raised residents’ fees for one garbage can and one recycling can from $10.50 to $13.70, a 30% jump. The flex option rate would fluctuate based on the recycling performance of the city and the related commodities market. The Council elected to go with the flex option, hoping for potential savings to residents.
On Tuesday, the Council received the first update on the City’s recycling performance since the new contract was implemented.
“There are some good things and some room for improvement,” said Blake Leonelli, the Waste Management representative to start his presentation.
In June, Lehi’s 14,349 households serviced by Waste Management recycled 250 tons of cans, bottles, paper and cardboard. That 250 tons of recycled material saved 3,793 trees, 684 cubic yards of landfill, and 936,288 gallons of water.
Although those numbers may sound impressive, Leonelli emphasized that there is room for improvement. Leonelli also encouraged residents to “stick to the basics,” by not recycling greasy pizza boxes and always making sure plastic bottles are empty and clean.
“No more plastic bags. Whatever we can do to really put a strong education effort to no plastic bags.”
Along with large amounts of plastic bags in recycling bins, residents have also put satellite dishes, televisions, engine motors, and even a kitchen sink in the blue bins. All of these items are contaminated or unusable goods that can’t be processed.
To conclude the recycling update, Leonelli said, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Mayor Mark Johnson ended the agenda item by committing the support of Lehi’s recently created Sustainability Committee, led my City liaison Todd Munger and resident Chair Steve Roll.
“We will work on this a little harder and keep improving,” said Johnson.