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Private recyclers prodding Ogden businesses to recycle glass, food scraps

By Tim Vandenack standard-Examiner - | Jun 23, 2021
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Jason Utgaard, general manager of Momentum Recycling, at an event Monday, June 21, 2021, meant to encourage Ogden businesses to recycle glass and food scraps.

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Jason Utgaard, general manager of Momentum Recycling, at an event Monday, June 21, 2021, meant to encourage Ogden businesses to recycle glass and food scraps.

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Participants at an event Monday, June 21, 2021, meant to encourage Ogden businesses to recycle glass and food scraps.

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Jason Utgaard, general manager of Momentum Recycling, at an event Monday, June 21, 2021, meant to encourage Ogden businesses to recycle glass and food scraps.

OGDEN — Recycling isn’t just about setting aside the empty aluminum cans and cardboard generated in your home.

Restaurants can do their part, and a pair of private recyclers are reaching out, hoping to get Ogden-area entrepreneurs to keep the empty bottles and food scraps they generate out of the landfill. Reps from Momentum Recycling, a glass recycler, and Wasatch Resource Recovery, which turns food scraps into methane gas, traveled on Monday to Ogden to spread the word about their services.

James Soares, who as chief operating officer for Lotus Craft helped pull the event together, is a big booster of the possibilities.

If the cost for businesses of recycling their glass and food scraps isn’t less, “it’s not a whole lot more” than just sending the material to the landfill, he said. “There’s so much upside to making that stretch.” Lotus Craft helps operate Ogden River Brewing, where Monday’s gathering was held.

As is, Jason Utgaard, the Momentum Recycling general manager, said the empty bottles and other glass generated at restaurants in the area largely go to the landfill. Morgan Bowerman, resource recovery and sustainability manager for Wasatch Resource Recovery, suspects food scraps largely face the same fate.

But Utgaard is sensing interest in steering clear of the landfill. He needs 10 commercial clients to start providing glass recycling services here and he’s expecting to be able to launch services in Weber County in August or September.

Glass is a tricky material to recycle. It’s not included in many locales’ curbside recycling programs, including Ogden’s, because it can break, messing up cardboard, paper and other recyclables. Recycling food scraps also has its challenges. But Momentum Recycling and Wasatch Resource Recovery, as private operators, aim to make it easy for businesses, scheduling pickups of recyclables, for a fee. Momentum Recycling, based in Salt Lake City, converts much of the glass it recycles into fiberglass.

Wasatch Resource Recovery, based in North Salt Lake, turns food scraps into methane gas, a power source, via an anaerobic digester. It separates out organic waste as part of the process so it can be used as a fertilizer.

Depending on the volume of material processed, letting private firms handle it can be cheaper than sending it to the landfill, though that’s not necessarily always the case. “It depends on how much you have. The more waste you have, the more money it will save you,” said Bowerman.

Given the environmental upside of reusing waste rather than just burying it, though, Soares is a booster of recycling. He’d even like to see curbside recycling at homes some day of glass and food scraps. “Those are very easy waste streams to manage,” he said.

Aside from its services geared to commercial clients, Momemtum Recycling last spring launched a residential curbside glass-recycling service in southern Davis County. The firm’s plan is to edge northward, bringing curbside service to Ogden residential customers perhaps by early next year.

The city of Ogden operates three drop-off locations for glass.

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