Lenexa residents could see their recycling switched to every other week

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LENEXA, Kan. — People in Lenexa could soon have the option of having their recyclables picked up once every other week.

On Tuesday, the Lenexa City Council will consider amending city code to allow for bi-weekly recycling collection. Current city code requires licensed contractors to collect recyclable materials each week.

Staff will recommend proposed changes to city code that would allow licensed contractors the option to offer customers bi-weekly curbside pick up in effort to cut down on overall costs for providers. 

Community Development Director Scott McCullough said staff began researching the recycling market and launched a community survey in January. McCullough said the goal is to balance consumers needs with challenges licensed haulers are facing in the recycling market. 

“The recycling market in general has really taken a change based on some national policies that China set about its contamination rate,” McCulough said.

“It greatly reduced the ability to sell recycling materials to China, overseas. Which means the market got very soft, so haulers have been attempting to reduce their overhead cost in moving to a bi-weekly collection program is one way they can reduce cost and keep it at a reasonable cost to the citizens.” 

McCullough said providers will still be required to offer a weekly curbside pickup option, but the cost of service may vary based on industry demands. The cost of service is set by the provider, not the city.

If approved, customers will need to contact their recycling provider directly if they want to switch to the bi-weekly pickup option.

“Generally, because the market is changing so much there will be price increases likely.We believe the price increase will be less for the bi-weekly service, just because of that reduction overhead should occur for the haulers,” McCullough said.

According to a survey of roughly 2,400 Lenexa residents, more than 50% of participants said a bi-weekly schedule would not meet their recycling needs. The survey also indicated roughly 47% of respondents would not be willing to pay more for curbside recycling pickup.

All recycling contracts within the city are between individual residents or area Homeowner Associations and local providers. 

If approved by the council, recycling companies will be able to offer weekly and bi-weekly recycling pickup options to their customers. FOX4 reached out to five of the licenced providers in the City of Lenexa. 

Officials from Brothers Disposal said the company will continue offering weekly curbside pickup, but will not be offering a bi-weekly option.

KC Disposal will also remain a weekly collection service. Officials say the company will not be offering customers a bi-weekly option. 

FOX4 did not receive a response from representatives at Republic Services or WCA.

Waste Management sent FOX4 this statement 

“Waste Management supports the proposed ordinance amendment recommended by staff regarding allowing the option for every other week recycling collection. As recycling markets continue to evolve, it’s important that we develop strategies to help manage consumer cost of service while continuing to provide the level of service the customer wants and needs. We believe providing the option of weekly or every other week service for recycling collection provides for that balance. Every other week recycling collection has been successfully used in the neighboring community of Olathe, while maintaining a high level of recycling diversion rate at approximately 43%. Waste Management is offering its customers a larger 95 gallon recycling cart that is made of up to 20% post customer resin and will provide an additional cart if requested by the customer, at no additional cost” 

The Lenexa City Council will consider the amendment during the next regular council meeting on Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

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