Wave of recycling drop-off site closures continues around Kansas City, MO
- The expected closure of the Pink Hill Park Recycling Center in Blue Springs, MO would mark the 15th recycling drop-off site closure in the region within the span of a year, as reported by The Kansas City Star.
- Due to the closure of other local sites, Pink Hill has seen its tonnage increase by 84% compared to last year. Though because a three-year contract with WCA Waste Corp. is set to expire, the costs of that volume are expected to increase. Blue Springs previously received 80% of all recycling revenue. The city would now receive 10% and see costs more than double.
- The city was already losing about $1,500 per month on the drop-off program. That would now increase to $6,500 per month and is projected to reach $100,000 per year, based on higher volumes. A final decision won't be made until a Sept. 6 budget hearing, but closure is seen as the most likely outcome.
While about 30 drop-off sites still remain in the greater Kansas City area, they're expected to see higher volumes if sites such as Pink Hill close and may experience the same cost conundrum as a result. The idea of building larger, regional drop-off centers has been proposed, but that wouldn't be an immediate fix. In the meantime, some areas have the option to contract paid curbside recycling service. However, in more rural areas, many businesses and households may be left without easy access to any recycling options.
Residents in some parts of the country have been shown to prefer drop-off over curbside, and in some cases it can help fill gaps in local programs. Overall, though, drop-off is recognized as an imperfect option. Contamination and illegal dumping are persistent issues at unattended sites. Some sites have invested in surveillance cameras or fences to cut down on this. Others don't have the budgets to do so.
Such provincial concerns may seem small compared to the challenges of larger curbside recycling programs, but for residents in many parts of the country, drop-off sites are the only choice. According to a recent Sustainable Packaging Coalition report, automatic curbside service is available to just 53% of the population and drop-off sites are the sole option for 21%. As China's new import policies refocus the spotlight on contamination, and the the potential to source higher quality material for domestic uses, the fate of drop-off programs remains relevant far beyond the small cities and towns that depend on them.
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