Lee’s Summit might raise price for composting

rpulley@lsjournal.comFebruary 7, 2014 

With white blanketing Lee’s Summit yards, grass clippings are probably not on too many minds, but the cost of getting rid of them might go up based on a plan by the city.

The City Council’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted Feb. 3 to recommend an ordinance increasing prices for recycling yard waste to the full council.

The city wants to discourage the volume of yard waste it is getting at the Resource Recovery Park because the waste is overwhelming its capacity for composting and storage.

“We’ve always used fee structures to bring in more material or throttle it back,” said Chris Bussen, superintendent of solid waste.

The city recently had switch to a smaller composting pad because it needed to recover more dirt from the site of the old pad to cover trash being put into the landfill.

Besides intake increasing, Bussen said, a firm that had been buying a lot of Lee’s Summit compost has stopped. Combined, the result will result in too much material than the city can handle.

Bussen said the city uses fees to influence volume. Its composting fees are lower than competitors in the area, he said, so the increase is a strategy to decrease intake.

For people hauling their own bags of clippings to the landfill for composting, prices won’t go up. They’re currently charged $.75 a bag for resident and $1.50 a bag for non residents.

That’s about 30 percent of residents, Bussen said.

The possible effect on rest of Lee’s Summit consumers is uncertain because it’s unknown how trash haulers will react. The commercial haulers might pass along the price increases, Bussen said, or take yard waste elsewhere.

The price increase to haulers, if approved by the full council, would go from $9.38 per cubic yard for a packer-full of yard waste to $37.52 a cubic yard. That’s unless the hauler has a contract with the city to deliver a minimum of 200 tons of trash to the landfill as well, then the price for yard waste would be $18.76 a cubic yard.

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