Citizens say they like it, so should the city make them recycle? 

untitled-(1-of-4)People like the idea of recycling but too few of them actually do it.

City curbside recycling efforts score a 79 percent citizen satisfaction rate, but only 20 percent of trash is recycled.

And that 20 percent has held  steady for a decade and now there is now talk of mandatory recycling. Recycling rates in the council districts range from 83 percent who recycle in the first district each week to 68 percent in the 3rd district. About 85 percent of home owners recycle and 48 percent of renters.

Michael Shaw of public works reported the situation Monday to the mayor and city manager.

The recycling satisfaction level now is among the highest for any city services and above the 73 percent national average.

Since 2004, the city has reduced the amount of waste going into landfills by almost 42 percent. Besides recycling, it limited free trash collection to two bags and picks up tons of brush for mulch and compost.

Some other cities, especially in places like California, use mandatory recycling to reduce landfill load, Shaw said.

He suggested considering that although it requires strong community support.

Those who recycle in Kansas City – and many who do not – strongly support the effort, Shaw said, and making everyone do it might work here.

Another option under consideration is to change the city rule that apartment buildings with seven or more units do not get city trash pickup and city funded recycling.

Mayor Sly James said with more and more apartment buildings opening, residents there should be able to recycle.

When the landfills fill up, Shaw said, new ones will go in at high cost and consumers will pay.

“Even the price of a hamburger is going to be higher,” he said.


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