Pictured: the drop-off location for the Community Recycle Center, 1000 E. Sand Flats Road [Photo: Solid Waste Special Services District #1]

Dedicated recycler Sara Melnicoff said she wanted to be first in line to support the new Moab Community Recycle Center Sponsorship Program.

“The recycling center is so important to me; I wanted to be the first person to get a sponsorship,” said Melnicoff, founder of local nonprofit Moab Solutions, “but I was the second.”

Still, Melnicoff is pleased to see community support for the recycling center as the Solid Waste Special Services District #1, which also manages Moab’s two landfills, launched a sponsorship program in February to help the recycling center offset its operational costs and remain financially viable.

The Moab Community Recycle Center was named the Thomas A. Martin Local Government Recycler of the Year for 2020 by the Recycling Coalition of Utah, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of solid waste reduction, reuse and recycling in the state.

Additionally, in 2020, the RCU awarded Melnicoff the Thomas A. Martin Individual Recycler of the Year for her “dedication towards active environmental stewardship through the nonprofit organization Moab Solutions.”

Melnicoff started Moab Solutions by collecting trash along creeks and highways. She said she found 50-60% of the garbage to be recyclable.

“I want to do everything I can to support the center,” she said. “It’s important for the community.”

The recycling center has operated at a loss for more than 10 years, said District Manager Evan Tyrrell, who took leadership two years ago. Prices for recyclable materials have decreased in the past five years since China began putting restrictions on what it would accept from other countries, Tyrrell said.

After collecting feedback from users of the center, the district is offering several tiered sponsorship levels for both residential and commercial recyclers. Sponsors receive the bi-annual district newsletter and various other amenities, including recognition on the Solid Waste District website.

Residential sponsorship tiers range from $25 to $250, while commercial sponsorships start at $100 and go as high as $1,000. Sponsorships support the center’s recycling, waste minimization, sustainability, and environmental protection efforts, according to the Solid Waste District website.

The recycling center, at 1000 E. Sand Flats Road, remains free for residents to drop off their recyclables, while commercial entities are charged a fee to help offset recycling costs. On rare occasions, a fee is charged for an excessive volume of materials.

Recyclables must be separated by commodity type – which is considered a more reliable and responsible recycling method than single-stream recycling programs, where materials are more easily contaminated by food, liquid or unrecyclable items, Melnicoff said.

Tyrrell emphasized that the Moab Community Recycle Center sends its materials to a reputable Salt Lake City processing site, that is “strongly vetted through the state,” Tyrrell said, while many recyclables processed by other sites are sold overseas and burned instead of reused.

Recycling of electronics and universal waste – batteries, light bulbs, computers, televisions, etcetera – takes place every Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is a nominal fee of 30 cents per pound. The center has expanded universal waste commodities that can be accepted to include items for which there were previously no local environmentally protective outlets.

The recycling center accepts number one and two plastics, glass jars and bottles, tin, steel and aluminum cans, cardboard, office paper, newspaper and mixed paper.

The Community Recycle Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit www.swssd1.org for more information on sponsorship benefits.

This article was edition on Feb. 22 to reflect the fact that all acceptable recyclables received at the CRC are recycled to their fullest extent. None of the acceptable recyclable we receive are sold overseas, landfilled, incinerated, or burned.

“The recycling center is so important to me; I wanted to be the first person to get a sponsorship,”

– Sara Melnicoff