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Do you think the city should offer curbside recycling?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 22, 2007

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Photo of Jane Patrick

“Definitely. I pay for one now and I think, if managed properly, the city could possibly even profit from it.”

Photo of Camron Flanders

“Absolutely. A lot of people already take it down to Wal-Mart, but I think it would greatly increase the number of people who recycle.”

Photo of Chelsea Chaffin

“Yeah. My family used to recycle a lot, but as we all got more busy it became harder to take it out to the center. I think it would help a lot if the city could pick it up.”

Photo of Jared Ostermann

“I think the city should offer it as long as the customers can choose to pay for it or not.”


Baby_Snakes 10 years, 11 months ago

No. Anyone who wants curbside now can have it....Making it a city endeavour would be a waste, plus it would have to be manditory for the cost to be reasonable....If you are looking for curbside check out

HighScore 10 years, 11 months ago

Have you all heard of:

I thought it was an interesting idea. You can get paid by using a curb-side recycling service, sure you only get paid in gift certificates, but a little incentive is all some people need. I have emailed the company at and also apealed to the City of Lawrence to institute this service.

I have been dropping my recyclables at WalMart for some time. I am filled with pride when I see that there are so many people using this facility, but so many more would recycle if it was an easy curb-side service. I have been surprised that Lawrence does not offer such a service.

Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

My problem is having a place to sort and store the seperate discarded items until I can get rid of them. I barely have room for one trash container much less 3 or 4 and I don't want my place outside looking like a dump and inside is even more cramped. So at this point it all goes into one container. So unless someone comes up with an ingenious way of storing a 3 part trash container and make it affordable I'll be able to sort my trash. However, some things I do take to the recycling center when I have time to do it. Of course with gas prices I don't make a special trip - I only go when I'm planning a trip out that way for a couple of reasons so I can conserve gas. That's just the reality of things right now.

preebo 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree with the sentiment, but I also believe that residents should be able to choose the services or decline it. Recycling, like many other "life" decisions, should be voluntary. It should not be a mandate, but rather a personal choice that is made. When that happens then the practice is truly employed.

If the community outreach does enough to educate the public regarding the benefits of recycling then residents will voluntarily take up the cause to keep their community cleaner and greener for generations to come.

cutny 10 years, 11 months ago

Yes, definitely. People would pay for it and it would be the last reason for finally being able to stay away from Wal-Mart forever. R_I...I've heard of espresso machines, but not "expresso machines." Sounds interesting, what is it?

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence absolutely should have curbside recycling. Much is needlessly wasted -- tons of recyclable materials goes into landfills from this city. Having lived in NYC and Boston, where curbside recycling is offered, I miss both the convenience and sense of community involvement in environmental responsibility. Lawrence is a progressive place, it's somewhat of a shock that this sensible community service is not already offered.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

Wait, free enterprise costs money? I thought it was free. I want a refund!

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

This could be done as a for-profit industry by a private company. Otherwise the city will have to pay some kid with a PhD in environmental engineering $90k per year and you could probably multiply that by 10 for the total cost.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

Absolutely. I don't think curbsides should just be thrown away!

For a very short time, I worked in Ann Arbor's recycling center. My job was to stand next to a conveyor belt full of paper and pull out everything that wasn't paper (cardboard, etc); it was pretty hilarious to see what people threw in their paper bins. One day, I grabbed a pair of combat boots off the belt. They were in surprisingly good shape (only one little hole), and they were my size. And they definitely weren't made out of paper.

So I may have worked there only four days, but I walked away with a pair of boots I wore for months after I left that job!

Anyway, the boots were a nice benefit for me, but there was a lot of other non-paper stuff that wasn't particularly useful. So be careful what you put in your recycling bins.

Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

Again there is no room for a bin, trash can or container for glass - that would be 3 bins - NO SPACE for this at my place in or out of the house. I can't stand junky clutter. Curbside would be nice, but who can afford it with rising gas prices, rent and utils. I can't. That's just one more strain on my already tiny salary. And I don't see min wages increasing anytime soon - do you? So who pays for this service? Not me - not right now. So for now it all goes into one container then to the dump.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

I'm sorry, but I can't for the life of me figure out why curbsides need to be recycled.

Stephen Prue 10 years, 11 months ago

isn't the city struggling with budget issues or did i miss something??? it seems their is curbside recycling already, so use it if you want if not don't

ski_bum 10 years, 11 months ago

I can't beleive what I'm reading!! There is no room in my garage for recylcing bins!! That is your reason for contributing to our demise!! Wake the f@#$ up!!! Recycling and doing your part for maintaing our environment isn't a choice of convenience it is a responsibility!!

trinity 10 years, 11 months ago

easy, jonas-curbsides must be recycled so that more roundabouts can be made! sheesh. ;)

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 11 months ago

In the long run, people would understand the benefits of curbside recycling and recycling in general. It's too bad so many people are so short-sighted...especially those with children.

karensisson 10 years, 11 months ago

I would love it. I think it is deplorable that the city relies on Wal-Mart to provide recycling, and lets Wal-Mark make the profit (yes, I'm sure there's a profit, because in other cities recycling businesses PAY for at least some types of recyclables - metal, cardboard, newspaper). I've heard Wal-Mart outsources their recycling center business. I also heard a lot of that ends up in the landfill anyway - and I wonder if that's because people bring stuff that they don't accept, or if it's because WM doesn't really recycle it.

It should be possible for the city to collect recyclables and sell them, and manage this service in a way that is financially self-supporting. Maybe it would even turn a profit for the city. The city ought to look at this.

karensisson 10 years, 11 months ago

Portland had mandatory curbside recycling, the last I knew.

oldvet 10 years, 11 months ago

Well, there you go... if big, nasty WalMart is running it, there must be a profit in it... so the city can license some private firm to pick up recycling materials at the curb at no cost to the homeowners because the company will make lots of money on the stuff they pick up... they must be lined up at the city right now to get that deal!!!

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

Being a "country girl," I don't see curbside in my future. We load all ours up and take them to Wal-Mart. As for Lawrence, sure they should have curbside recycling. If I lived in town, that is a service I would definitely use...even if I had to pay a small fee to do so. The time I (or the hubby) spend sorting and then the gas to drive them to would be worth it to pay for the service out here. It sure would go a long way towards keeping my garage a bit neater.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 11 months ago


Yep, those should be recycled as well. I think the problem there is that people don't go through that stuff as often as paper, cans, bottles, plastic so that should be a separate service but it should exist for sure.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 11 months ago

Old Vet wrote: "...if big, nasty WalMart is running it, there must be a profit in it:"

Well, yeah, there is a profit for them. Why else would a corporation like Wal-Mart provide that service? Do you think that Wal-Mart all of a sudden decided to get ethical one day?

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 11 months ago


Why do you love Wal-Mart so much? Do you like that it destroys small-towns character, encourages workers to apply for welfare, uses sweatshops, etc...

Or do you just like the super-savings and low quality products?

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 11 months ago

I believe the best solution here is to charge residents for the trash they throw away. Perhaps $1 per every 5 pounds -- and make recycling free. That would discourage waste, make products with recyclable or minimal packaging very popular, and totally fund the city's recycling efforts.

The more you throw away, the more you pay.

This approach has proven very successful in Europe and would go along way to making Lawrence sustainable while filling city coffers.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 11 months ago

Every time you get a plastic bag at the grocery store, (insert deity name here) kills a kitten. Don't use plastic bags! Do it for the kittens!

ski_bum 10 years, 11 months ago

To reiterate my previous comment...recycling is not a choice of convenience it is a personal reponsibility!!

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 11 months ago

"You're all slapping each other on the back for recycling your beer cans and pop bottles, but are you willing to actively seek from the City a service to collect and dispose of the paint, medicines, pesticides and so forth that are destroying the drinking water for your children and grandchildren?"

kubacker, there is a free service in Lawrence that disposes of paint, pesticides, old gas, etc.

javery 10 years, 11 months ago

When I moved to Lawrence 3 years ago, I was astounded to find that Lawrence didn't offer curbside recycling. I lived in 3 different places during the 10 years before I moved to Lawrence, and each place had city run curb side recycling, including when I lived in a city 1/9th the size of Lawrence. I knew that Lawrence was supposed to be a progressive city, yet I see soooo much recyclable stuff getting thrown away that would be far more likely to be recycled if the city offered curb side recycling. Soon I'm going to be moving to a city 1/2 of the size of Lawrence, which also offers curb side recycling.

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

curbside recycling? Does that mean they will make new cans out of the old ones right there at the curb? That seems mighty expensive.

Curbside recycling pick-up, however, seems much more reasonable. We have this in Phoenix, and I highly recommend it for other cities.

Roadkill -- no use asking Bowhunter to explain his views. You just need to understand that some people hate America and its standing as an economic super power. Some people do anything they can to support the manufacturing industry of China rather than here at home, and Bowhunter is one of them.

Crispian Paul 10 years, 11 months ago

SO, how can you all be against a relatively low-cost service that whether or not you believe in global warming, etc, is meant to reduce items in landfills, and reduce the number of raw materials needed from not recycling? When I tell my family and friends who live anywhere from San Fran to Hawaii to Detroit to Iowa that we don't have curbside recycling here, their response is "Seriously!?". Most states and cities have or are working to institute this.

fliesinyoureyes 10 years, 11 months ago

The long stream of comments on here illustrate why curbside pick-up is a pointless waste of money. Those who don't recycle don't because they're too lazy and curbside pickup won't change that. Those who do recycle will find a way to make it convenient - no matter what size house they live in - and not even miss a single reality show.

crazy4daisies 10 years, 11 months ago

I think that the city of Lawrence should partner with those who already provide curbside recycling services instead of developing their own. If people in Lawrence truly want curbside recycling there are several places that provide this. I personally prefer CLO as my provider for many reasons other than just having somebody to come and pick up my stuff. The guys that CLO employs (both at the recylcing center and on the van routes) truly love their job. By having this service, it provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to have a job that is meaningful to them, not to mention it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. If the city of Lawrence establishes their own recycling pick up service, several men who have been doing a great job of recycling for years may no longer have the job that they have loved for so long... so citizens of Lawrence, please consider this when making the decision to have curbside recycling. Ask yourself this question: Do you want some ho-hum who could care less about having their job picking up your recycling, or would you rather have somebody who has more pride in their job than you or I have ever felt? I think regardless I will stick with CLO...

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 11 months ago

If it's really important: Cut residential trash pickup to every other week. OUCH! Have recyling pickup every other week. Be kind. Sort.

Will it "work"? Doubtful, but we all must do our .00000000000000000000000000000000000001% to save the earth from our wailing trash guilt.

The earth would probably prefer it if we quit producing so many No-Facelike consumers and penalized producers for creating exploding happy family colorful packaging nightmare.

Ceallach 10 years, 11 months ago

One thing for sure . . if the city provides recycling pickup . . it will cost residents a lot more than going through one of the local companies that already provide the service. Think it over guys, when has the city done anything that it didn't either mess up, over charge the taxpayers for . . or both?

Tony Kisner 10 years, 11 months ago

But crazy4dazy I would have to pay $ for CLO to come and provide the service I desire. There must be a better way!

Confrontation 10 years, 11 months ago

"Oracle_of_Rhode (Anonymous) says:

I believe the best solution here is to charge residents for the trash they throw away."

Yes, that will solve everything. Well, other than the massive amount of trash that will be dumped in the ditches, lakes, etc.

Does anyone have a price on the cost of private curbside recycling? I'd hate to give this city another cent of my money. Also, I've yet to see any "foreward thinking" in Lawrence. Unless, by foreward, you are implying a city that will waste thousands on crap art and roundabouts, yet plans to cut back on social service grants.

Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

1 I'm not lazy. I already have enough to do around the house and then some to the point where I have little or no time to myself to enjoy a relaxing moment. But this recycling is another bandaid on the REAL problem of Over packaging and double packaging of products. What we need to do is change the way products are being packaged. The government should put controls on that and make manufacturers limit the amount of packaging material uses on products. Go back to paper cartons and limit the use of plastics for food containers. These are the real culprits. All this recycling does is tax the lives of people even more. It's enough most people have to take time away from their families with long commutes to work. I don't have time to seperate my trash. If I can set it out on the curb - then someone else can take the time to do it. Better yet stop overpackaging products. That's what I'd campaign for.

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

"Does anyone have a price on the cost of private curbside recycling?"

Yes, I do. It is $4.67 per person per year. This number is based on the total population of the city, divided by the cost of vehicles and employees necessary and subtracting the cost saved by the amount of trash no longer filling dump sites. I took all of these factors into account, dismissed them all, then chose a number completely at random -- $4.67. If you don't like it, then how about $2.63 per person? $5.83?

The real question is, how much does it cost not to do this? To again paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut: We could have saved the planet, but we were too cheap.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

snap, in the days b.k. (before kids), I used to take all of my own canvas bags to the grocery store. You've inspired me to take that habit up again. I'm off to locate my save the kittens!

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

bea, I'd pay much more than that...If I could only get them out to my neck of the would be so good!

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 11 months ago

Confrontation wrote: "I'd hate to give this city another cent of my money. Also, I've yet to see any "foreward thinking" in Lawrence. Unless, by foreward, you are implying a city that will waste thousands on crap art and roundabouts, yet plans to cut back on social service grants."

Man, there's a lot of people who hate Lawrence but live here. I didn't realize Lawrence held people hostage. I tend to think that support for local businesses, a sustainable vibrant downtown, concern for environment, and tolerance of all innocent people are examples of "foreward thinking" that I witness from the majority of Lawrencians.

ms_canada 10 years, 11 months ago

we have had recycle service in our city for a long time now. There are two kinds of recycle material. One kind that the city garbage trucks pick up on pickup days along with the garbage. This includes, newspaper, tin cans (soup cans etc.) glass jars, egg cartons, juice cartons. This all gets put into a large blue bag. Grass cuttings and other plant material gets put in clear bags that go to the composter. The other kind is what I haul to the recycle place when my bin in the garage gets full. All this stuff I get paid to haul in and includes, pop bottles and cans, beer cans, wine bottles, juice jars, cans and boxes, plastic milk jugs. Usually I come home with about $20 from a car load of stuff. A question, when you all haul your stuff to Walmart, do they pay you for it?

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

Ms_C, no, we do not get paid for our goodies. The grocery stores used to pay (don't know if they still do) 10 cents for every canvas bag you brought in instead of using a plastic one. Other than that, we have a recycle place in town that will pay for scrap metal and aluminum cans. I don't know of anything else. Maybe someone else does???

pelliott 10 years, 11 months ago

YES YES, curbside collection of paper/cardboards and metals makes immediate sense. I would not add plastics, glass or food material until the markets and methods are more accessible locally. Paper is very recyclable, the markets are there and growing, depending on what you include determines which markets you want to send it to. It will take one day a week, or four days a month. It is about time, this town has been begging every comission for 15 years to consider curbside collection of paper/cardboards. Every home in this town has paper and cardboard, stores well, even once a month pickup would help a lot of us trudging to drop offs and many of the people who don't drive anymore or don't have very much. PLEASE give us curbside collection of Paper/cardboards.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 11 months ago

Could we recycle the feral swine into sausages?

KsTwister 10 years, 11 months ago

Tried the curbside, we didn't like it, unsightly clutter sitting on the street waiting....and waiting....and waiting. Then the broken glass. We need more centers across the city to drop it off though, I'm kind of discouraged with driving to Wal-mart to drop off the stuff(cause they take most anything) then backtrack catch the other stops on the list I get handed. Now I have to remember to take our "special" grocery bags cause the plastic ones(a petroleum product) are off limits.

peppermint 10 years, 11 months ago


Where I lived a few years ago, recycling was a profitable business. You'd take a trunkload of stuff down there and you'd maybe get about $3 which you could accept or choose to donate it to one of the charities on their list. It wasn't much. My point is, this was a town of 50,000, and there were TWO such recycling centers for profit, and recycling was not even half as popular there as it is here. They were in business the whole time I lived there - over a decade.

Some materials aren't cost-effective to recycle at different times. The markets fluctuate. Sometimes they would take glass but not pay for it. Sometimes they would refuse to take glass. Sometimes they would pay a bonus for aluminum.

I don't know much about the recycling business, just that it IS a BUSINESS in some places. Not a charity.

peppermint 10 years, 11 months ago

Nobody is so busy that they cannot separate their trash. They may not want to and that is their right. Let's be honest.

People who do recycle work out their own techniques to save time and space. I'm sure anyone can do this.

My recycling takes 10 minutes to sort it every 6 weeks or so, and 10 minutes to drop it off if I'm going to be on South Iowa anyway. Other than that it doesn't take any extra time at all.

paladin 10 years, 11 months ago

I liked the City Dump. Shooting rats and plinking tin cans was loads of fun. And there was always a fire burning, of something. Sometimes it smelled bad, sometimes not, but never good. You could find treasures to keep and take home or lose or toss into the smelly creek and watch the ripples. And you could take a net and catch deformed tadpoles and tiny fish that glowed in the dark. And there were snakes. The City Dump reminded me of the Gates of Hell. Now everyplace does. Oh well.

crazy4daisies 10 years, 11 months ago

I believe it costs $15.00 per month for CLO to pick up recycling. All you have to do is sit your stuff on the curb. They prefer you sort it, but quite honestly I rarely do and they still pick it up and take care of it for me. Plus like I said before, I love to see the pride in the guys eyes when they get out of the van and take care of my stuff!

blackwalnut 10 years, 11 months ago

There are plenty of drop-off locations for newspaper and corrugated cardboard. The Dillons and Hy-Vee stores have these bins.

It would be nice if grocery stores could add bins for plastic, metal and glass. The metal and newspaper are worth $$$ and might pay for the city's trouble to collect all of it every couple of weeks.

pelliott 10 years, 11 months ago

Of course we should take umbrage at being handed multiple packagings for a simple product then we have to take the different materials to recycling drop off sites. As for bags, canvas bags, reusing the plastic one, a good sturdy back pack , Reduction first. I do like the European system that requires a corporation that uses packing material to help that material be recycled. Makes sense. A little aside, as I get older I seem to have lost the ability to open much of the packaging, or they are making packaging from hell.

Curbside collection of paper/cardboards make so much sense, if we do a decent job of describing the materials, like office paper yes, newspapers yes, soiled diapers no. I would love to see a panel of representatives from just three companies in this town, describe their ideas on paper recycling, Heck that is a good ljw story or 6 news. Lets ask LJw about their paper stock?, The Lawrence Box company about their recycling and Hallmark. Each of these companies have great experience with their paper/cardboard and it is happening here with the regional markets. They have all been here a pretty long time and represent differnent spectrums of the paper/cardboards.
I think the city should contract out curbside collection if they can't figure out how to pick up paper/cardboards up.. My quess they might be able to, but there would have to be the will, (rumor rumor about that) If we started with paper/cardboards we would not need to have a full blown recycling processing center but rather a staging center to send the (probably) baled papers and cardboards to market. In this time of tight budgets, picking up a quarter of the household trash, seperate, baling it and getting it to markets for use as a resource would at least be worth more than hauling it 11 miles down the road and filling the landfill with stuff people can use. i do believe in using landfills, they are valuable, there is a lot of stuff I think needs to go there, sending metals and paper there is not the best use. We need curbside collection for paper/cardboard, It is in every home in town, easily identified, We should ask Hallmark, Lawrence paper (is it jayhawk box now? and Ljw.
We could at least learn what the comercial companies have been doing with their scraps. I have heard the Hallmarks have done incredible things in the last ten years, not just with their papers but reducing their chemical and wastes. Lets hear from them. Lets ask them.

paladin 10 years, 11 months ago

Paladin says he knows very little about the Free Enterprise ssystem, but that he just doesn't care that much. He's always been poor, is poor now, and, no doubt, will always be poor. Poor guy. Oh well.

paladin 10 years, 11 months ago

OOOOOhhhhhh, bother!!! Its always somethin.

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