KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a lot of trash that must be disposed of at the end of the holiday season. The city is reminding folks that an unlimited amount of most household garbage can be recycled for free.
This is what makes illegal dumping so frustrating for city investigators.
Kansas City has trash amnesty during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. You can put out up to 15 bags at the curb and have it picked up for free.
Still, that doesn't stop some from loading up their household waste and contributing to blight by illegally dumping garbage on secluded streets like this one, near East 37th Street and Oakley Avenue.
When investigator Alan Ashurst goes through the trash bags, he gets frustrated finding paper, plastic and aluminum.
All these things could have been left at the curb in a cardboard box or plastic bin, where the city would have picked it up and recycled it for free.
"This is all plastic bags," Ashurst said while inspecting a dump site of household waste. "That’s a plastic bottle. This is aluminum foil right here. That’s a tin can, tin can. Paper. Paper. Paper. Paper. Plastic. Plastic, tin can. Just even before we start digging into these bags of trash, 95 percent of what I see here could all have been recycled."
Kansas City budgets $2-million a year to clean up illegal dump sites. And Ashurst estimates that about half of the illegally dumping he finds is household garbage that should have been left at the curb for recycling.
He says after recycling, what's left would not have filled one 40 pound trash bag. And the city will pick up two of those for free during a regular week.
Instead, Ashurst now is going to track down the illegal dumper, who probably faces a $750 fine after wasting time and effort loading up their garbage and breaking the law to get rid of it.
All they had to do is play by the rules, and they wouldn't have to leave their home, or pay a extra dime, and all their trash would be gone.