Sustainability Corner : Recycling 101

Johanna Poppel

The first day of my waste management class at UMKC was spent at the Deffenbaugh landfill and recycling center.

It was shocking to see the large amounts of trash bags and other refuse that was mixed in with the recyclables. Ultimately, I figured many people don’t know what items are recyclable or simply don’t understand the basic rules of recycling.

KC Recycles is a curbside recycling program offered to single family homes or apartment complexes with six or fewer units in Kansas City. The program requires a blue recycling bin, which can be purchased for $9 at a local Price Chopper or Westlake ACE Hardware store. The curbside recycling bins are picked up on the same day as the trash every week.

So, what’s recyclable? If it is simply plastic, paper or aluminum and not covered in food, liquid or any hazardous household material, then it is most likely recyclable.

Here’s a list of items accepted by the curbside recycling program:

Aluminum: soda cans and canned foods

Plastic: bottles and containers with the chasing arrow symbol numbered 1 through 7

Paper: office and school papers, junk mail, magazines, newspapers, books, etc.

Cardboard: pizza and cereal boxes, cardboard egg cartons (no Styrofoam)

If extra space for recyclables is needed, any recyclable material can be used to hold extra items as well, such as paper grocery bags, plastic tubs or cardboard boxes that can be placed next to the blue bin. There is no limit to how much can be picked up for recycling.

Some items, however, cannot be picked up by the curbside recycling program. These include glass, plastic bags, paper towels, tissues, waxed containers like milk cartons and juice boxes, photographs and bags that contained pet food, fertilizer, charcoal or kitty litter.

Glass can be recycled at various Ripple bins across the city.

Two locations close to campus are: 51st and Main Street in André’s Confiserie Suisse staff parking lot and 54th and Troost Avenue in the Rockhurst University Community Center parking lot.

For any questions regarding recycling and other city services, one may call the 3-1-1 Action Center at 311 or 816-513-1313.

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