Recycling is slightly down in Lee’s Summit’s collection centers, but curbside recycling has made a big upswing.
The city is preparing for two awareness events this year that will also give residents opportunities to shred and recycle documents, get old bicycles out of garages and more.
Early next month, April 12 and again Oct. 11, the city will be holding RecycleFest, an expanded version of its annual recycling events.
“We are adding more unusual recyclable materials,” said Kara Taylor, environmental programs coordinator for the city.
In 2009, the city reached a high of material collected at its recycling centers at 1.8 million pounds.
That took a big plunge in following years, and now is at about 1.04 million pounds. Bu that’s not because residents stopped caring about the environment, Taylor said.
Instead, there are indications recycling is on the upswing and residents are choosing different methods.
Glass is now going to the Ripple glass containers in other locations, which started in 2010, which accounts for a large share of poundage change at the recycling centers.
And Town & Country Disposal, which collects trash from about three-quarters of Lee’s Summit residents, has its own facility for transferring recyclable material, Taylor said.
Consequently, haulers are offering consumers more affordable options for curbside recycling and consumers are using them, she said.
She said that in 2008 the average residential participation for curbside recycling was 16 percent. By 2012, it rocketed to nearly 50 percent.
At last year’s recycling events the city collected about 100 bicycles, old athletic shoes and filled truckloads with shredded paper. This year it is asking residents to bring keys, crayons, fishing line, rechargeable batteries, eyeglasses and hearing aids and empty plastic pill bottles.
Even corks from wine bottles.
“Natural cork is getting hard to come by,” Taylor said.
There are a few rules. Strip labels of the pill bottles to protect your personal information, and don’t try to recycle sharps. Only bring athletic shoes, take dress shoes to thrift shops.
The athletic shoes are ground to make soft coverings for playgrounds. One example of recycled cork is soles of flip-flops. Keys are recycled for their metal. Crayons are re-melted to make new crayons.
Residents and local business owners can bring up to four paper grocery sacks of sensitive documents for shredding. Paper clips and staples are OK, but plastic covers and binders should be removed. The trucks will be available until full, which could be before noon.
Taylor said at future events the city would be willing to gather other odd items, say tennis balls, if there are enough common requests to get rid of them, and she can locate a vendor who’ll take them for reuse.
For more information about RecycleFEST, call 816-969-1800 or visit LSlandfill.net.