Tag Archives: reuse

Reuse and recycle your unwanted toys

Photo of bathroom sink counter with soap dispenser, plastic shark toy, and toothbrush holder made from Legos.It’s that time of year when new toys move in and old toys move out. Ensure that the old toys get a second life by reusing and recycling them instead of throwing them away.


Donating old toys is the easiest option. As long as toys are clean and in good working condition, you can donate them to thrift stores and local charities. Most large thrift stores offer pick up services. You can also drop your toys off at the nearest donation box (only toys that will easily fit in the box’s door).

Three organizations that accept toys for donation and work with local kids and families in need are Operation Breakthrough, Scraps KC and The Giving Brick.

Host a toy swap

Avoid the after-the-holiday blahs by hosting a toy swap. It is a great way to clean out the closet, help the environment, and help stave off you and your kids’ cabin fever.

Recycle electronic toys

Whether it’s a broken video game, remote control car or a Nerf Blaster, it’s all recyclable. Midwest Recycling Center and The Surplus Exchange both recycle all toys that run on batteries or a power cord. If you have a video game junkie in your home, you can recycle old gaming devices at Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot / Office Max.


Who knew toys can be made into a wreath, a toothbrush holder or bookends? Search “How to repurpose toys” on the internet, and you’ll find countless cool things to make from unwanted toys.

For more information on reuse and recycling, visit RecycleSpot.org.


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Congratulations to our 2017 SWMD grantees!

photos of books, recycling receptacle and food waste/kitchen scrapsOne of the most important things the MARC Solid Waste Management District (SWMD) does is provide financial support to organizations on the Missouri side of our region for projects that reduce the amount of material we send to landfills. The district receives funding every year from the fees collected from the landfills and transfer stations in Missouri. Half of that amount is used to fund local waste reduction, reuse and recycling projects through a grant program. So far this year, we have awarded more than $407,146 to 11 grantees.

The 2017 grant projects so far include:

  • Avenue of Life:  $59,428 to support the fourth year of a regional mattress recycling program.
  • Bridging The Gap: $81,187 to provide one-on-one consultations and assistance to businesses interested in starting new or expanding existing recycling and composting programs.
  • City of Grandview:  $23,625 to purchase a recycling trailer for events and staffing for management and education.
  • Composting and Organics Association of Missouri: $8,202 to conduct a regional composting workshop.
  • Folk Alliance: $3,608 to support staffing, signage, and recycling and composting bags for the annual conference at the Westin Hotel in Kansas City.
  • Independence Avenue Community Improvement District:  $17,500 to purchase recycling containers and bags and provide recycling education on Independence Avenue in Kansas City.
  • Kansas City Chiefs: $21,981 to purchase dual containers to collect compostables and recyclables from fans.
  • Mid-America Regional Council:  $48,267 for Recycle More advertising and outreach.
  • Project Central: $120,708 to support the third year of consultations for school composting and/or recycling programs.
  • Scraps KC: $10,881 to provide support for a newly opened creative reuse store.
  • The Rehabilitation Institute:  $11,759 to support the sale of used books online.

We are very proud of our 2017 group of grant recipients and excited about their projects. The district could not accomplish its waste diversion goals without our grantees! Visit the Solid Waste Management District’s website to learn more about the grant program.

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Sleepyhead Beds: Helping children in need and keeping mattresses out of landfills

sleepyhead beds vanThe MARC Solid Waste Management District administers an annual grant program that awards funds to local communities and organizations for waste reduction and recycling-related projects. From time to time, we publish updates about recent grant recipients.

Most of us will likely have a few mattresses throughout our lifetimes. What did you do with your last mattress after you bought a new one? Instead of throwing out an old mattress, you can do something good for kids in the Kansas City region and for the environment.

If your old mattress is still in reasonable shape, with no noticeable stains or structural problems, you can donate it to Sleepyhead Beds. Sleepyhead Beds is a local organization that takes gently used, unwanted mattresses and sanitizes and sterilizes them for redistribution to children in need. The organization also accepts donations of clean, gently used sheets, comforters and pillow cases.

In 2013, Sleepyhead Beds received a grant from the MARC Solid Waste Management District to purchase a truck and hire a driver to expand its program for collecting and redistributing beds and bedding. This helped Sleepyhead Beds redistribute more than 1,600 mattresses and 1,200 pounds of bedding. If you lined up those mattresses end to end, they would stretch over two miles!

Reusing mattresses also saves a lot of time and energy since recycling them can be very difficult. Plus, any mattress that ends up in a landfill takes up a lot of space. If the 1,600 mattresses redistributed by Sleepyhead Beds were all twin-sized they would take up 27,000 cubic feet, or enough space to cover a basketball court eight times. (That would make it much easier to dunk!)

To learn more or to arrange a donation, visit Sleepyhead Bed’s website.

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Highlighting 2013

The MARC Solid Waste Management District held its 2013 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center. Dr. Joseph Martinich, University of Missouri — St. Louis, spoke about the benefits of recycling on Missouri’s economy. The district also recognized several individuals and organizations that have made notable contributions to regional waste management and recycling efforts. The 2013 Special Recognition Award recipients were:

from left to right: Marleen Leonce, City of Kansas City, Mo. Kate Corwin – Green Works in Kansas City Kendall Welch - Alderman, Parkville Meredith Hauck – City of Riverside Tanya Cotton – Heritage Environmental Services Brian Alferman, PlanetReuse

Public Employee — Marleen Leonce, Kansas City, Missouri.
The Public Employee award recognizes a public employees who has shown dedication to the development and advancement of waste reduction and recycling through individual achievement and commitment.

Individual Supporter —  Brian Alferman.
The Individual Supporter award recognizes an individual who has made exceptional contributions and commitment to the district’s waste reduction and recycling efforts.

Green Event — Northland Recycling Extravaganza, cities of Parkville and Riverside.
The Green Event award recognizes a special event that promotes sustainable practices. Meredith Hauck with the City of Riverside and Kendall Welch, Parkville Alderman accepted this award.

Waste Industry — Heritage Environmental Services.
The Waste Industry award recognizes outstanding waste reduction and recycling efforts for a business in the waste industry. Tanya Cotton accepted this award.

Environmental Educator — Green Works in Kansas City.
The Environmental Educator award recognizes an individual or group for commitment to educating others about the need for and benefit of waste reduction and recycling. Kate Corwin accepted this award.

Please join us in congratulating our award recipients and their contributions to help the region achieve its goal of 80 percent waste diversion.

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Fight food waste at your festivities

AppetizersFood: it’s the center of every holiday gathering.

But between thinking about all those calories and the sheer quantity of food, most of us don’t consider how much of it gets wasted.  In fact, the average American wastes between 209 and 253 pounds of food every year, with a fair amount of that waste occurring around the holidays. Here are some ways to reduce waste that will help you, your guests and the environment.

  • Precycle. “Precycling” is when you avoid purchasing unnecessary items that will eventually have to be recycled or thrown away. For holiday meals, try to purchase products with less packaging, use durable dishware and cook only for the number of people who will eat at your gathering.
  • Prepare healthy portions. Love Food Hate Waste’s online portion planner will tell you how much food to purchase based on the type of food you want to serve and the number of people who will eat it.
  • Make a list and stick with it. A list will ensure you don’t forget anything and keep you from buying and spending too much.
  • Let guests serve themselves. When guests serve themselves they can choose the items they actually want to eat.
  • Use smaller plates. Smaller plates help fend off the dreaded “my-eyes-are-bigger-than-my-stomach” syndrome.
  • Ask guests to bring reusable containers. This way you won’t have to eat all those leftovers yourself and your guests will have something to eat the next day. Plus you’ll reuse others’ containers instead of buying new ones.

Don’t forget to visit RecycleSpot.org for all of your holiday reuse and recycling needs!

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Do you reduce and reuse?

Reduce Reuse RecycleReduce, reuse, recycle: the “Three Rs.” We hear this phrase all the time — and most of us understand the recycling part — but how many of us really understand “reduce” and “reuse” and what we can do to incorporate these principles into our daily lives?

First of all, what do these words mean? To “reduce” means producing less trash in the first place. “Reusing” means finding a new way to use something instead of throwing it in the trash can. When done together, reducing and reusing avoid the creation of trash and the need to recycle or send it to a landfill.

Let’s look at actions we can each take to reduce our waste:

Do I really need to purchase this item? 

  • Use products you already have. Keep things clean and organized so you can easily find what you need.
  • Maintain and repair. Items that are well maintained don’t have to be repaired or replaced as often. Try to repair something before you replace it.
  • Buy well-made products. Durable products have a longer lifespan and are more likely to be repairable.
  • Share, borrow or rent. Save money and reduce waste by sharing, borrowing or renting items you use infrequently.
  • Shop used. Shopping for used items is sustainable and economical. Try looking around at garage sales, thrift stores and Craigslist.

Can I reuse this item?

  • Reuse everyday items. Get in the habit of reusing everyday items such as plastic grocery sacks, coffee cans and old t-shirts.
  • Use durable bags. Whether shopping for groceries, clothes, toys or tools use reusable shopping bags instead of paper or plastic bags.
  • Use refillable mugs and water bottles. At work, at home or on-the-go, use a refillable container.
  • Use Tupperware as take out boxes. These can replace disposable paper, plastic and Styrofoam boxes.

When I am through with an item, what are my options?

  • Donate. Donate items to friends or thrift stores.
  • Reuse at work. Make sure your office has a system for reusing, donating or selling surplus supplies and property.

Can I avoid all of this packaging?

  • Choose less or no packaging. When choosing between two similar products, select the one with the least or no packaging.  Products that contain less packaging include large or economy-sized items, concentrated products and bulk items.
  • Choose recyclable packaging. If you can’t avoid the packaging, select the product with packaging that can be put into your curbside recycling bin or accepted at your local drop-off facility.

For more information, visit RecycleSpot.org, Greater Kansas City’s one-stop website for waste reduction, reuse and recycling information.

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Read, reuse and recycle with the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City

Spines removed from books.

Spines removed from books.

This is one of a series of posts for readers interested in the MARC Solid Waste Management District’s grant program.

The Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) received a grant from the MARC Solid Waste Management District to provide recycling services for discarded books. Although they are made mostly of paper, books can be difficult to recycle because of the adhesives used in their bindings. With District grant funds, RIKC was able to purchase a high speed book debinder. The debinder removes the glued spine from both hard and soft cover books, allowing workers to remove the recyclable pages, which are baled and sold to paper brokers.

RIKC collects unwanted books from school districts, colleges, universities and libraries. Since the start of the program, the institute has diverted more than 300 tons of books from landfill disposal. Not all collected books are recycled, however. Popular titles, rare and antique books are separated and resold online or at the RIKC Bookstore. Another benefit to the program is that participants in the sheltered workshop program develop skills in sorting various types of books and learn to use the book debinding and paper baling equipment. To learn more about the book project, please visit RIKC’s website or stop by in person at 3010 Main St. to browse the books offered for resale.

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Two Decades of Support for Local Waste Reduction and Recycling

Grant types awarded since 1993

Grant types awarded since 1993

One of the most important things the MARC Solid Waste Management District’s does is to provide financial support to projects in our region that reduce the material we send to landfills. The District receives funding every year from the fees collected from the state’s landfills and transfer stations. Half of that amount is used to fund local waste reduction, reuse and recycling projects through a grant program. Since the grant program started in 1993, the District has awarded more than $7 million in local grants to support 261 projects carried out by public, private and nonprofit organizations. The wide range of activities we support generally falls into five complementary areas: waste reduction, recycling, composting, education and market development.

  • Waste reduction addresses the challenges of finding new uses for materials before they become “waste.” These funds often go to organizations that accept contributions of used and salvaged materials. Examples of these grantees include Habitat Restore, the Surplus Exchange and Revolve Community Bike Shop.
  • Funds awarded for recycling and composting aim to develop and grow the regional collection and processing infrastructure. District resources have been used to create drop-off recycling centers in communities; develop municipal yard waste collection sites; purchase equipment such as tub grinders and balers for processing collected material; and purchase vehicles for organizations to collect and transport recyclables.
  • The grants issued for education help build awareness of the benefits of waste reduction and recycling, and inform people about opportunities to reduce waste. A variety of formal and informal programs have been developed to educate residents, businesses, schools and local governments.
  • Market development fosters businesses that manufacture and market recycled-content products and strengthens consumer demand for those products. Market development can include, for example, expanding the processing and remanufacturing capacity of recycling businesses to handle the increasing volume of collected recyclables.

We are very proud of 2013′s group of grant recipients and excited about their projects. I hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about the District grant program. The District could not accomplish its waste diversion goals without our grantees. In future posts I’ll highlight some of their individual accomplishments.

Here is a list of our 2013 grant projects:

  • Atlas Glass: $30,240 to purchase a trailer for loading glass picked up at curbside, and educational materials promoting curbside service.
  • Sleepyhead Beds: $30,252 for transportation costs associated with picking up mattresses otherwise headed for the landfill, and dropping them off for children who do not have beds.
  • City of Platte City: $33,765 toward a new truck for curbside recycling with carts.
  • Southeast Enterprises: $30,000 to support transportation costs associated with a regional holiday light recycling program.
  • Cass County Sustainability Committee: $16,800 to promote Cass County’s drop-off recycling program, located in multiple municipalities.
  • Park University: $11,700 to support a project coordinator, service fees and educational efforts for the university’s new food waste composting program.
  • Nelson Atkins Museum of Art: $14,819 for recycling containers at the museum’s outdoor sculpture garden and environs.
  • The Rehabilitation Institute: $55,145 for a donations coordinator, a half-time driver for pick up and a fork lift to support the second year of a successful book recycling project.
  • Missouri Organic Recycling: $44,785 to support coordinator salary, outreach materials, truck lease and bags to support recycling and composting at 8-12 local public events.
  • JobOne: $11,782 to support the expansion of JobOne’s drop-off recycling program in Grandview. Funds will support costs for a forklift and outreach material.
  • St. Teresas Academy: $4,000 to purchase six outdoor recycling containers for collecting plastic bottles and cans at the school’s new outdoor track, also used by community members.
  • Truman Heritage Habitat: $22,880 salary for a driver for pick-up of material for the new Habitat ReStore.
  • Bridging The Gap: $36,760 to support marketing for the new Midwest Materials Exchange program, an on-line market place for by-product materials.
  • Jerusalem Farm: $11,646 for a residential food-waste composting program in Pendelton Heights, a KC neighborhood in the Northeast.
  • Revolve: $18,300 salary for a bicycle mechanic to ensure bikes collected are moving out and either reused or recycled. Funds also cover some outreach costs and tools.
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MARC Solid Waste Management District — Planning the future of your trash

Did you know that your Missouri city is part of a Solid Waste Management District (SWMD)? The Mid-America Regional Council’s SWMD was formed in 1990 when Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri decided to work together to increase resource recovery, decrease the volume of waste going to landfills, and encourage regional planning for solid waste management. Ray County joined the district in 1995. The district now serves five counties and more than 80 cities in Missouri.

Our Mission

The MARC Solid Waste Management District administers a solid waste grant program for waste reduction, reuse and recycling projects. Many cities and counties, nonprofit organizations, businesses and schools have used this grant program. The district also supports the collection and disposal of household hazardous waste through contracts with two permanent collection facilities and a number of mobile collection events. A number of public education initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of waste the region sends to area landfills have been developed by the district. (Have you seen Eco Elvis get “All Shook Up” over recycling?) The district also manages the RecycleSpot.org website and a recycling hotline that provide residents information on recycling opportunities in the region.

Learn more about the SWMD, how it was formed, how it’s funded and governed on our website.


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