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Valley Journals

Taylorsville City Green Committee finalizing plans for annual Earth Day recycling event

Feb 27, 2017 09:18AM ● By Bryan Scott

Clad in protective suits, volunteers stow hazardous household waste in barrels. (Taylorsville City)

By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com
 
The Taylorsville City Green Committee is putting the finishing touches on its plans for the city’s annual Earth Day Collection Event, at the city offices (2600 West 5400 South).
 
“This is our fourth annual collection event, and it grows every year,” said committee Chairman Jeffrey Summerhays. “A few years ago there were 220 pounds of outdated prescription drugs alone dropped off by area residents for safe disposal.”
 
Summerhays is the sustainability coordinator for Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling. He oversees marketing, education and other programs that serve more than 81,000 Salt Lake County homes.
 
“We pick up household garbage in many places: Taylorsville, Holladay, Millcreek, Herriman, parts of Murray and unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County like Magna and Kearns,” Summerhays said. “We have a very good idea of how quickly our landfill space is filling up. One of our primary goals is to extend the life of those areas by teaching residents about all the things that should go elsewhere.”
 
Green Committee City Council Adviser Ernest Burgess was among those who originally came up with the collection event idea. “That first year it was a rainy day, but people still came out in droves,” he said. “Many residents use this day to prompt themselves to clear away garbage from around their yards. And police say this has led to fewer complaint calls from neighbors.”
 
This year’s collection event will be held on the 48th Annual Earth Day, April 22, from 8 a.m. to noon. Organizers advise people to show up early because the collection line does have to be cut off at noon.
 
“Last year we had cars and trucks lined up well before 8 a.m.,” Summerhays said. “I think they’re learning to get moving early, or risk being stuck in longer lines.”
 
City Councilman Dan Armstrong said area Boy Scouts and their leaders will again be out in force.
 
“They plan to have an overnight campout at Labrum Park (1900 West 6000 South) the night before,” he said. “Then the Scouts will assist at the collection event by directing traffic and helping to remove items from cars and trucks.”
 
A 30-year scout leader himself, Armstrong said the boys provide so much assistance, most donors don’t even have to get out of their cars or trucks.
 
“Some of our Scouts and leaders have even gone out into neighborhoods to pick up things for people who don’t have their own way to deliver it,” Armstrong said.
 
“That morning, we’ll collect household hazardous waste—like paint and pesticides—along with broken electronics (cell phones, computer equipment, televisions and similar materials), glass products, yard waste and many other things,” Summerhays said.  
 
Since the event is just a few days after federal taxes are due, volunteers will also provide free shredding of confidential papers.
 
“One of our primary goals is to educate people about all the different materials that should be saved and reused,” Summerhays added.
 
As the collection event approaches, Green Committee members are lining up vendors to attend and haul material away.
 
“We had eight different groups collecting materials last year,” Summerhays said. “We’re hoping for even more this time around.”
 
Burgess added, “We simply couldn’t do this without the vendors. We want them to know how grateful we are for the time and service they provide.”
 
As for the gathering and disposal of outdated prescription drugs, Summerhays says that’s left up to law enforcement because there are “simply too many legal and ethical issues” surrounding drug collection.
 
“This (collection event) has really taken off,” Summerhays added. “It falls right in line with one of our primary committee goals, to provide leadership and practical solutions to ensure a prosperous community that will sustain healthy lives and have a positive impact upon the environment.”