The daily mountains of trash that must be buried at the Salt Lake City-County Landfill should begin to diminish when 1991 starts, thanks to a new public recycling center.

The Public Unloading Facility at the landfill, about 1300 South and 6400 West, should be opened - not on the first day of the year, because dumps are closed on New Year's Day - but on Jan. 2, 1991, said Daniel Bauer, director of solid waste for Salt Lake County."It will be an area where private citizens will be able to bring their non-hazardous material to the landfill," he said. "We will have an area for those items that are recyclable or compostable, special areas where they can be separated out for that purpose."

When construction is complete, the facility - a flat area of concrete with an elevated surface - will be 300 feet long and 190 feet wide.

Along the outside of the Public Unloading Facility, bins will await recyclable material. They will include special sections for yard wastes, including grass, shrub and tree clippings; aluminum; other metals; newspapers; used motor oil; automobile batteries and glass.

A long pit in the center will accept ordinary trash - called "mixed garbage" by landfill aficionados. In the language of the new ideology, it is the "stuff that cannot be recycled."

Landfill workers will transfer the mixed garbage to the area of the dump now used as a landfill.

"It will be constructed so that the people who use that facility will not have to get off of any paved surfaces," Bauer said. "It will be a year-round facility."

Joyce Leach, the Salt Lake County landfill recycling coordinator, said that when people arrive, they'll drive across scales and pay a fee to dispose of their trash. Then they'll head into the new unloading area.

"The whole purpose of the facility would be to separate the private citizens from the large tipping phase," which is the work area of the landfill, where bulldozers shove heaps of trash, surrounded by a blizzard of crying seagulls.

Because recycling can be a big-bucks enterprise, does that mean that the recycling citizen will earn some cash for filling up the bin with aluminum cans? Actually, no.

In fact, Bauer is proposing an increase in the present fee of $2 per pickup truckload to $5 per pickup load. For commercial material, he would like to see the price raised from $6 to $7.75.

So why should anybody want to use the new recycling center? Bauer says anyone who wants to should take their cans to commercial recycling center. "Our main concern is the minimize the amount of material that is being buried at the current time. Of that material that is going to be brought to the landfill anyway, our hope with this facility is to divert some of that," he said.

The landfill now has an estimated 24 years' worth of space left. The recycling center is supposed to extend it, postponing the time when Salt Lake Valley has a garbage crisis.

And the landfill operators hope that residents will be public-spirited enough to help out.