As rumors go, this has been a persistent one: Logan has secretly quit recycling, and all of the paper and plastic you put in your blue trash bin is going straight to the dump.
“I’ve been hearing different versions of this in the last several months, maybe even up to a year, and it’s not true,” Logan Environmental Director Issa Hamud said Friday.
The source of the rumor, Hamud believes, is the mistaken assumption that Logan was connected to Revolve recycling, a private facility near the old Logan Landfill that shut down in September 2019.
Although Logan environmental department workers could be seen hauling off large loads of recyclables from the property after it was abandoned by its owners, the city was not connected to Revolve, which brought in paper and plastics from other counties and states to sell on the recycling market.
Logan recyclables have always been sent to Mountain Fiber in Hyrum.
“When Revolve abandoned their facility, they left a lot of stuff on their lot, and we cleaned it up because it was a fire hazard for our landfill and there was a lot of trash blowing into the highway,” Hamud said, explaining that his department has recovered some of the costs for the cleanup from both the business owners and the source communities, but $30,000 to $40,000 is still outstanding.
“It was not our waste, and legally those communities are responsible for that waste,” he said.
Another factor in the ongoing rumor may be that some residents witnessed Logan garbage trucks hauling recyclables from Revolve straight to the dump. This did happen, Hamud said, but not as part of a city conspiracy. It was because most of the abandoned paper and plastic had become contaminated.
“This material had no value to be recycled,” Hamud said. “It had stayed in the open environment for too long, and a lot of it was wet. We contacted agencies that might take it, including the one in Hyrum, and they all said ‘We aren’t interested in taking it,’ so we had to take it to the landfill.”
On the subject of contamination of recyclables, Hamud said he wants to get the word out that this has become a growing problem in the past couple of years, largely because of new residents unfamiliar with the process. Some don’t even realize the blue bins are for recycling.
The Cache Valley recycling program has strict guidelines on types of plastics and other materials accepted, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not bad plastic and paper sorting by residents that causes the biggest headache at the recycling facility, according to Hamud.
“Contamination based on the wrong plastic is not a big problem. Food waste, liquid waste or green waste are the most dangerous ones that we see,” Hamud said. “If you put cooking oil in your recyclable, for example, and that eventually gets into the truck and spills, it contaminates the whole load. If you put green waste in the recyclable, we also have a contamination that is very serious.”
To combat the contamination trend, the city will send out three interns this summer to educate residents in identified problem areas, most of which are in apartment buildings and neighborhoods with many rental properties.