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Group working to revive recycling in Blue Springs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Blue Springs neighbors are still pushing for city leaders to reinstate a municipal recycling program. They've been without the service since October 2017.

A group devoted to bringing back recycling called Green Blue Springs shared ideas for a replacement plan with the Solid Waste Management Commission earlier this week.

"A lot of people relied on that center," said Scott Casey, who founded Green Blue Springs.

Earlier this week, the Blue Springs Solid Waste Management Commission met to review questions on the 2018 Blue Springs Citizens Survey. Of those who responded, 63 percent said it was very important to reopen the Pink Hill Park Recycling Center, and 57 percent said they'd be willing to pay a fee to make that happen.

Casey, who is running for City Council and sits on the Planning Commission, was at the meeting to present solutions to fill the recycling void.

"Trash bags that the city would distribute at grocery stores, people could buy them," Casey said. "And the money could then be used to fully fund a recycling program."

According to the City of Blue Springs, "There was considerable analysis of the operation undertaken prior to the center being closed. While the center was certainly popular with many residents, changes in the recycling market -- too much supply and not enough demand -- resulted in a dramatic increase in the City’s cost to operate the center. From a budgetary perspective it didn’t make sense to continue to operate. The City had a contract with Town & Country (WCA) from August 2013 to August 2017 that allowed the recycling center to operate with a cost of $12,000 to the City. However, when the contract expired, the City went out for a re-bid and received one response that would have increased operation costs to $100,000 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year."

"We think it should be a standard service," Casey said. "We think the city government has a responsibility to provide that."

The recycling center's services were free to residents.

"My family does do curbside," Casey said. "We're lucky enough to do that. We know a lot of families, that doesn't work for them."

According to the City of Blue Springs, more than a dozen other recycling drop off sites closed in the metro because of financial reasons. Others in Lee's Summit and Independence closed for reasons related to management and privatization, according to the Mid-America Regional Council.

"Someone doesn't want to have to drive outside their city limits," Lisa McDaniel, the Solid Waste Program Manager at the Mid-America Regional Council, said.
"It's less likely that`s going to happen."

McDaniel said when centers close, they create voids for neighbors.

"If has tremendous impact on preservation of natural resources," McDaniel said.

There isn't a timeline yet for when a solution will be put into place. Residents can pay for a private service in the meantime, or go to a center in another area.

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