KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Trash day is going to change for thousands of Kansas City residents, and bag tags could be a thing of the past in about a year.
Supporters of the switches said it’s going to be a game-changer when it comes to keeping Kansas City clean.
Currently, people living inside Kansas City limits put trash in bags and place the bags at the curb. Recycling goes in a small, open bin next to the trash bags.
The problem is on windy days, recycling gets blown away and ends up all over the city. Animals can also rip open the plastic bags, leaving more trash to scatter in the wind. It’s a problem residents say they’ve seen for years.
“You can go around the neighborhood right now, and there’s someone who’s moved out of the house, and its thrown out there on the sidewalk,” Virginia Flowers, Vineyard Neighborhood Association, said.
“Our neighbors, if they forget to put their trash out, it sits out until maybe the next trash day. The animals tear it up and there it is.”
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said that will begin to change in about a month.
Last year, city council members approved a plan to spend $5.5 million and buy 160,000 recycling carts with lids. Part of this funding came from a $1.5 million grant.
Residents will begin receiving the free bins in the coming weeks.
“We have too much trash in Kansas City. We wanted to make sure that we were working actively to clean up more. One of the biggest problems is recycling with our open bins right now,” Lucas said.
“You see paper, everything blowing about neighborhoods every recycling day. This will help cut down on a lot of that waste that’s just going about the community, and it will allow people to recycle a lot more with this much larger bin.”
“The lid on the top is also very important to us,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “One of the challenges we’re seeing and noticing that’s causing some trash and litter on our streets is our recycling bins right now are open. When the wind blows the recycling just blows over the neighborhood.”
There are enough of the recycling carts for every home in Kansas City, but getting one of the new bins is not mandatory.
“I know a lot of people have said maybe ‘we have a small bungalow, we don’t want a bin this large.’ You can keep your old recycling bin, but they will be available for every single family residential home in Kansas City. That’s about 162,000,” Lucas said.
“We are getting them out and about. Thanks to our taxpayers who are helping fund this program. And this is just one part of our cleanup in KC.”
Another part of cleaning up the city’s trash problem is still in the works. Right now the city council hopes to provide similar trash bins for homeowners starting May 1, 2024.
“As we know, putting out trash bags on the curb as we do in Kansas City leads to dogs getting through, so many other things. As somebody who has diapers in the trash some time for my 2-year-old, I really don’t like picking it up if a dog’s gotten through before,” Lucas said.
“We have to clean this city up,” First District Councilman Kevin O’Neil said. “I mean it literally is the number one topic right behind violence in every neighborhood meeting I go to.”
Leaders said this is a part of an effort to keep the city clean, especially with major events headed our way.
“We want to make sure that as we’re doing big events in Kansas City — the NFL Draft, the World Cup in 2026, and events large and small in between — that we are building a cleaner city,” Lucas said.
“I think it would benefit our trash here. We would love to put them in there, put our trash in those bins and roll them out,” Flowers said.
The trash bins are expensive, according to Lucas, which is part of the reason why they are not available at the same time as the new recycling carts.
Lucas also hopes to expand the leaves and brush pick-up program and create a new program for household compost.
More information on how people can request the recycling carts will be released soon.