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ROELAND PARK, Kan. — A new program could soon make it easier to recycle glass in Roeland Park. Monday, the Roeland Park City Council approved an agreement with Ripple Glass to provide curbside glass recycling starting in 2023. 

Ripple will provide curbside glass recycling for all 2,851 single-family homes in the city. The company will also offer glass recycling services for the  Boulevard Apartments complex and at city parks. The program begins January 1, 2023 and is set to end in December of 2025.

Ripple will provide homeowners with a 14-gallon, purple tote for glass collection, delivering them to homes. The company will provide curbside glass recycling once a month on the same day as residents’ regular trash collection.

The Boulevard Apartments will receive eight, 64-gallon carts for residents to participate in the program. Glass will be collected from the complex on a bi-weekly basis. Ripple will provide recycled plastic tote bags to each resident to transport glass to the large carts. 

“There really is no recycling at this complex. This would be an opportunity to at least get started with glass recycling and see if we can move ahead with something with the management over there to make recycling a realistic option,” Councilmember Jan Faidley said.  

Ripple will provide 64-gallon carts for the Community Center, Nall Park and R Park with glass collection once a month. 

Ripple will charge the city $2.50 per month for each home served. The Recycling Partnership awarded the city a grant to support the curbside recycling program. The grant covers roughly $15,000 of the total $39,000 cost of the totes. This funding reduces the monthly fee from $2.65 to $2.50 during the two-year program. 

In addition to the fee set by Ripple, if the price of diesel fuel exceeds $5 per gallon, the agreement requires the city to pay 50% of the amount over the $5 base. 

With a split council vote of 4-4, Mayor Mike Kelly weighed in to approve the new program. Kelly said the program overall could provide an environmental and economic benefit to the city. 

“Next year we’ll be renegotiating our solid waste management agreement. Depending upon the amount of weight that we take out of the landfills, and we can use specific data from Ripple Glass to be able to show what is taken out, we stand to be in a better position to renegotiate that fee as well,” Kelly said.  

Councilmembers Tom Madigan, Benjamin Dickens, Kate Raglow and Trisha Brauer voted against the proposal. Madigan said he feels it’s the wrong time for the program because of inflation. 

“They estimate 14 mpg for their three-quarter-ton diesel pickup. I looked up the estimate on those and that’s the overall. That’s not the city [rate],” Madigan said.

“In the city, it’s estimated at 12 mpg and we have to assume if they are towing a trailer, that goes even lower. I think that estimate is way off.” 

According to city documents, city leaders estimate roughly a 42% participation rate for the program. Raglow said based on feedback from residents and estimated participation rate, she doesn’t feel now is the right time for this program. 

“I’ve received more emails asking us not to vote in favor of this than I actually did for our masking ordinance,” Raglow said. 

The curbside glass recycling program will cost $85,530 annually with roughly 30% of the costs being covered through residents’ solid waste assessment and the remaining balance to be covered by the city’s general fund. 

By adding a $9.15 annual fee for glass recycling, homeowners can expect a total solid waste assessment of about $214.15 per home for 2023. Beyond 2023, the city anticipates solid waste assessments will continue to increase at a minimum of $3.75 per year.

Later that night the council adopted a 27.517 mill rate for the 2023 budget to include the new glass recycling program. If the council did not approve the new recycling program, the tax rate would be set at 26.997 mill for 2023.