Archive for Friday, September 5, 2008

Recycling success

The city’s current recycling efforts clearly are paying off. Why mess with success?

September 5, 2008


A report showing that Lawrence residents already recycle solid waste at a rate above the national average indicates that now isn't the time for the city to get into the curbside recycling business.

The city's solid waste division reported last week that Lawrence's recycling rate in 2007 was 35 percent, compared with the Environmental Protection Agency's national estimate of 32.5 percent. That's not to say that Lawrence residents can't do more, but it shows that the current public and private recycling efforts are doing a pretty good job.

Many people are willing to pay a small fee for private contractors to pick up recyclable material at the curb. Others are willing to invest the effort to deposit recyclable waste at Wal-Mart or in one of the drop-off boxes scattered across the city for newspaper, cardboard and other material.

As Mayor Mike Dever pointed out, the report is a good indication of local residents' commitment to recycling material that otherwise would find its way to the local landfill. Lawrence is an environmentally conscious community, but the decision about whether we should have a municipal curbside recycling service depends largely on how much additional trash that service would divert from the landfill.

If enough trash is recycled rather than going to the landfill, that could produce a savings that would justify or offset the expense of collecting and processing recyclable material. But with such a high rate of recycling participation now, how much could the city expect to gain by instituting its own curbside service?

A city service likely would have to be one-size-fits-all. Everyone would be charged the same fee regardless of how much material they recycle, rather than having the many options now offered by private recyclers. People who now use free recycling services also would have to pay even if they are satisfied with their current cost-free option.

The city makes new efforts each year to step up its recycling program. Given the latest statistics, it's clear those efforts are paying off. Especially in the current tight economic times, there's no reason for the city to shift its recycling strategy.


coltrane 9 years, 8 months ago

curbside recycling is not would be great however to have about six city operated recycle centers:North Lawrence East LawrenceSouth Lawrence West Lawrenceout near Pleasant Groveand out west near Berryton

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Across the country, many communities, businesses, and individuals have found creative ways to reduce and better manage Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) - more commonly known as trash or garbage - through a coordinated mix of practices that includes source reduction, recycling (including composting), and disposal. The most environmentally sound management of MSW is achieved when these approaches are implemented according to EPA's preferred order:source reduction first recycling and composting second *disposal in landfills or waste combustors last. How Can Our Community Reduce Solid Waste

Elizabeth Stancliffe 9 years, 8 months ago

Overland Park requires recycling and it works great. It is curbside and a big help for those who are shut-ins or without vehicles. If Lawrence was as progressive as they would like to think, city-sponsored curbside recycling is the way to go.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Is there any reason the community should not be reaching out for a 50% recycling rate?Electronic Recycling Day: Recycling:

lawrencian 9 years, 8 months ago

coltrane, I absolutely agree! If we want to be more environmentally friendly, it would be great to have a place to drop items off that does not require driving to the far opposite end of town.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

From Vinland Valley Nursery:Cardboard Weed BarrierIt's free, it's recycling and it works ...We've given up using woven weed barrier in our gardens, choosing instead to recycle cardboard scraps. The reasons?First, it breaks down after being on the ground under mulch over a couple of years. We like this because when we want to move plants or add to a bed, we won't have to hassle with removing plastic weed fabric. Also, when we need to replenish our soil and mulch, we can just add to the top, allowing the cardboard to be broken down into the soil and avoiding the need to remove surface mulch and fabric.Second, it's not a petroleum based product, so it's more environmentally sound and less expensive - actually, it's free!Weed barrier is still useful for lining rock beds and other permanent areas, but you should try cardboard the next time you renovate or create a garden bed. It really works.

d_prowess 9 years, 8 months ago

I am proud that we are 2.5% above the national recycling average but would also like to see some more detailed stats on the recycling levels they are reporting. In the orginal story it looked like just about half was recycled by private efforts and the other half by the city. And of the city efforts, 86% was from yard waste. Is that comparable to the national averages? Does the amount of yard waste skew our numbers in a positive or negative direction? Perhaps we can get some figures that exclude yard waste recycling to see how we stack up then.

Ragingbear 9 years, 8 months ago

Nope. No political influence and bias here. Move along citizen. We need this area for a block party for no particular reason.

alm77 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm surprised it's not hirer. I don't know anyone who doesn't recycle and I'm out here on the west side.

make_a_difference 9 years, 8 months ago

I strongly object to being forced to pay for a service that I in no way need. Our household recycles. Recycles to the point of having a reputation with my teenage daughter and her friends regarding my "enthusiasm" about the approach of "reduce, reuse , then recycle". (I've noticed that they all go to the effort to do their part) I have no trouble recycling with the current locations available in Lawrence and it doesn't really cost me anything since I manage to arrange drop-offs while running daily errands. I very much believe that it's important that we change our behaviors when it comes to using our resources.'s hard enough to make ends meet now without the city charging me every month for something I already have. I have few objections if people are given the choice of whether to participate, but it has already been made clear that wouldn't be the case.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

The talk thus far is to keep locals on the job under any plan.It would be up to the local business people. The overall objective is to not necessarily increase cost of solid waste management for Lawrence,Kansas.Smart shopping can also reduce solid waste.Perhaps more drop off containers in the neighborhoods would be helpful? 50% by 2013 might be possible. City staff is doing their part. It's always in the laps of consumers.These businesses provide the Lawrence community with a valuable service.Jeff's Curbside Recyclingcall (785) 841-1284 or (785) 865-6089Community Living Opportunitiescall (785) 840-9278Home Recycling Servicecall (785) 979-6633 or visit homerecyclingservice.comTree Hugger Recyclingcall (785) 550-6267 or visit treehuggerrecycling.comSunflower Curbside Recyclingcall (785) 550-8610 or visit

davidnta 9 years, 8 months ago

This is good that we are doing above average so the next step is to take it up a notch and improve upon it.

Pete Kennamore 9 years, 8 months ago

Fall in line little lemmings. Do what the eco-facist tell you so you can feel good about yourself. Don't bother to scratch the surface and get the facts about recycling.For those brave enough try

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Create Your Own Compost Pile Simply - What can go in a compost Pile? a compost bin(s) out of pallets start small compost piles in your flower and garden plots. This avoids hauling compost to needy areas.As for turning piles of compost a substantial fork is a good tool or attaching a bulb planting auger bit in your drill is a great way to rotate compost.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

CURBSIDE RECYCLING SERVICESThese businesses provide the Lawrence community with a valuable service.Jeff's Curbside Recyclingcall (785) 841-1284 or (785) 865-6089Community Living Opportunitiescall (785) 840-9278Home Recycling Servicecall (785) 979-6633 or visit homerecyclingservice.comTree Hugger Recyclingcall (785) 550-6267 or visit treehuggerrecycling.comSunflower Curbside Recyclingcall (785) 550-8610 or visit

Melinda Black 9 years, 8 months ago

I also agree with coltrane that it would be great have city operated recycle centers around town. Make it easier for people to help themselves while reducing the impact on our landfills.I currently pay for curbside recycling out of pocket. I do this because it is not convenient for me to haul my items across town.

pace 9 years, 8 months ago

I can't believe another editorial from the LJW against curbside collection of paper. If you don't take the paper, they drop off their little paper on Wed. They are almost impossible to stop. Call after call has failed, Sometimes they stop for a while, then start. I came back from vacation to a pile of them on my door telling people, hey they aren't home. They want to deliver it to everyone, homes and businesses and then expect that everyone will drive their paper to a bin. If they are against city wide curbside they should pitch in, go completely on line and cease delivery. Everyone in the loop, especially the newpaper company, and the manufacturers, the venders, the purchasers of a product have responsibility. The LJW sure is bowing out of theirs. There are paper and cardboards in every occupied house in town, to expect everyone to drive around to drop offs is a bit much. What has the LJW done to help recycle the paper? They don't even have a drop off at any of their offices!!! Maybe we should just return the product to them and see if they haul it or hire someone. Why should the city not contract with the private collectors and save those tons and the miles to the landfill with all those LJWs.

pace 9 years, 8 months ago

I am puzzled by how ridiculous the wingnut hawkp... is willing to sound. His arguement seems to be, oh Hawkp doesn't have a brain in his head, my arguement is hate. OHHH compost, recycling, not wasting, not littering, boo hoo hoo, watch me act scared or hostile. Lets destroy the world, that will show everyone I am potent. not tiny teeny and scared You got a piece of material, you have successfully identified as a newspaper you have read, put it in a bin, have it picked up at your curb. Oh way too complicated.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

Thanks, Merrill, for the excellent tips, and ignoring the geese on the sidelines with nothing to do but honk. I've done my share of cardboard mulching, which works fine as long as you don't let it blow around. One trick is to use sticks to "nail" them into the dirt. Some grass clippings on top hides the cardboard if you like the aesthetics better.I really like the fact that the city is putting depots around town--there are the ones at Checker's where half the town shops, plus I think some in North Lawrence. Where else are there some depots? Are there plans for more? Those, along with the private pick up service, is the way to get it up to 50%.

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