Lawrence residents and businesses last year recycled an additional 500 tons through city programs.
Pound for pound, landfill use grew faster than recycling last year in Lawrence.
But the rate of increase for recycling last year in Lawrence grew 3.5 times more than did the rate of increase for landfill use, according to a new report.
The city's Waste Reduction and Recycling Division annual report for 1998 found that while Lawrence residents and businesses sent an additional 1,000 tons of solid waste to the landfill last year, they also recycled an additional 500 tons through city programs.
The significance: While the amount of wasted waste jumped 2 percent compared to 1997, the amount of recycled materials jumped by 7 percent, said Mollie Mangerich, the city's operations supervisor for waste reduction and recycling.
"I was really pleased to see that," Mangerich said. "That's really our bottom line, to reduce the amount of materials that we consume. Waste prevention is the first order here."
According to the report, the city's collections of virtually all categories of recyclables -- including yard waste, newspapers, cardboard, office paper, motor oil, tires and household hazardous wastes -- increased last year compared to years past, the report said.
The city collected 9,366 tons of waste for recycling last year, up from the 8,730 tons in 1997. The latest totals include:
- 7,864 tons of grass clippings and leaves, up 198 tons -- or 2.6 percent -- from 7,667 tons in 1997.
- 866 tons of newspapers, up 160 tons -- or 26.4 percent -- from 606 tons in 1997.
- 425 tons of corrugated containers, up 78 tons -- or 22.5 percent -- from 347 tons in 1997.
The city also fired up a 69 percent increase in the recycling of used motor oil, to 8,955 gallons last year from 5,300 in 1997. Most of the increase came courtesy of the city's maintenance garage, where 3,000 gallons of oil drained from city vehicles were used to fuel's the garage's heaters.
Private recycling efforts in town -- from curbside pickup services to large-scale industrial efforts, such as those at Hallmark Cards Inc. -- add another 10,000 tons of recyclables to the city's total.
That means Lawrence has an overall recycling rate of 30 percent, which is thought to be the best in Kansas, Mangerich said.
"I hope that people will continue to recycle as much as possible of the materials that they have generated, but even before recycling we all have to take a really close look at what we're consuming," said Mangerich, who urges people and businesses to use only what is necessary.
"Over time, we'll be hearing more and more that we need to consume less and less. There's just a finite number of resources available and there's more and more of us."
-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.