Tag Archives: solid waste

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.

Donate

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.

Repurpose

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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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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A bright idea for Southeast Enterprises

The 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.

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Old strands of holiday lights may not work, but they’re far from worthless. For the second year, Southeast Enterprises will collect unusable or unwanted holiday lights for recycling. Last year, they exceeded their goal of recycling 24,000 pounds of holiday lights. This year’s goal is to exceed 34,000 pounds.

So, what happens to all of those lights? Once collected, Southeast’s employees prepare the lights for recycling by clipping and sorting each component of the light strands: wires, plugs, light receptacles and bulbs. The components are then sent to other organizations for recycling or energy recovery. Every part of the light string is recycled.

snowman trashcanThe program does more than help the environment — it provides jobs, too. To disassemble the lights Southeast Enterprises employs more than 160 Jackson County residents who are intellectually and developmentally disabled.

Collection containers will be placed at more than 165 participating schools, businesses, recycling centers and community organizations. View the map of drop-off locations to find one near you.  They will collect lights until Jan. 26, 2014.

The district is pleased to be part of this effort by providing grant support to Southeast’s 2012-13 and 2013-14 collection programs.

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Household Hazardous Waste – where does it go?

Have you ever wondered what happens to the material you drop off at the Kansas City Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility or at a mobile collection event? Depending on the material, it may be used as fuel, treated and used as an ingredient in a new product, or filtered or cleaned to make it usable again. In total, about 90–95 percent of the material that comes through the regional HHW program is recycled or recovered as waste-to-energy.

For example:
hazardous waste icons

  • Good-quality latex paint is processed, filtered and sold back to the public. Latex paint that can’t be reused is sent offsite to a waste-to-energy plant.
  • Oil-based paints, flammable liquids and aerosols are sent to a plant in Arkansas where they are turned into an alternative fuel for use in cement kilns. The propellants from aerosols are recaptured and the metal from the cans is recycled.
  • Antifreeze is recovered locally and goes through a coolant distillation process with a 97 percent recovery rate for reuse.
  • Used oil is burned in the HHW facility’s used-oil furnace for heat, sent to Habitat Restore for use in its used-oil furnace, or sent to an approved local oil recycler.
  • Fluorescent bulbs — including CFLs — are sent to a facility for recycling. The mercury is recovered and the glass and metal are recycled.
  • All batteries are recycled. Heavy metals and casings are recovered and hydroxide compounds are burned off. The materials produced are used to make new batteries, metal alloys and corrosion-resistant coatings.
  • Lead acid batteries are recycled. The lead is recovered to 99 percent purity, the sulfuric acid is neutralized and discharged under permit, and the plastics are recycled into new battery casings.
  • Acids, caustics, pesticides, oxidizers and flammable solids are sent to a hazardous waste incinerator where they are treated in a furnace at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. .
  • Small propane cylinders are sent to a facility where the propane is reclaimed and the metal is recycled.
  • Metal paint cans are sent to a local metal recycler; empty plastic cans and bottles are sent to landfills; empty cans from flammable liquids are sent to landfills; and cardboard boxes from drop-offs are returned to the customers for them to recycle.

There are two more mobile events this season, but permanent HHW collection facilities are open year-round.

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EPA releases new solid waste and recycling numbers

Since 1960, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has collected and reported data on the generation and disposal of waste in the United States. The EPA recently released figures for 2011, revealing long-term trends on what we are recycling and throwing away.

Long-term trends
What do these long-term trends show? In 1960, we generated 88 million tons of waste and recycled 6 percent of it (5.6 million tons). In 2011, we generated about 250 million tons of waste and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of it, for a recycling rate of 35 percent. But while we are recycling more, we are also generating more than we did in 1960.Line Graph showing amounts of waste Generated, Recycled, and Discarded- each in pounds per person. From 1960 - 2011.
How much of this increased generation can be attributed to population growth? If you take population into account, we find that individuals are recycling more and throwing away less than they did in 1960. Solid waste generation peaked in the year 2000.

Recycling in 2011
What are we best at recycling? Almost 84 percent of the 87 million tons we recycled was made up of paper and paperboard, yard trimmings and metals.

The EPA report also includes a breakdown of 2011 recycling rates of various products:

  • Auto batteries were recycled the most frequently, at 96.2 percent
  • Newspapers and mechanical paper made up 72.5 percent
  • Steel cans, 70.6 percent
  • Yard trimmings, 57.3 percent
  • Aluminum cans, 54.5 percent
  • Tires, 44.6 percent
  • Glass containers, 34.2 percent
  • PET bottles and jars, 29.2 percent
  • HDPE bottles, 21.0 percent

Pie Chart depicting the percentages of different materials that make up municipal Solid Waste RecoveryThe EPA estimates that our recycling reduced more than 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from 34 million passenger vehicles) and saved more than 1.1 quadrillion Btu of energy (enough to power 10 million U.S. households for a year).

Discards in 2011
What are we still throwing away? Food waste represents more than 21 percent of our discards (see an earlier blog about reducing your foodprint). After food, plastics weigh in at nearly 18 percent and paper and paperboard still makes up 15 percent.Pie Chart depicting the percentages of different materials that make up total discarded municipal Solid Waste

Learn more
Learn more about what we throw away nationally (fact sheet, full report and infographic) and what you can do to make a difference locally.

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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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Recycling survey finds increased participation and increased support

67percentBinnyIf you build it, they will come. If you make it easy they will recycle.

A recent survey shows that 67 percent of area residents are recycling more compared to five years ago, in large part because it has become easier as curbside recycling is now widely available. Familiarity and satisfaction with recycling services are increasing as well.  With this increased awareness, the region is also seeing increased support for expanding and improving waste reduction and recycling services.

Between October 2012 and January 2013, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Solid Waste Management District conducted a recycling survey of residents in the nine-county Kansas City metro area. The survey results will help the district evaluate current recycling activities and awareness, determine what recycling services residents would like to see in the future, and determine focus areas for expanded services and outreach priorities.  The district also compared results with 2005 and 2008 survey data to determine how citizens’ values, behavior and awareness levels have changed.

The survey results also show an increase in support for overall improvements to solid waste management. Some key findings:

  • The top services that residents would like to see offered or expanded include materials accepted curbside, household hazardous waste collection, glass container recycling services, and computers/electronics recycling services.
  • 58 percent of area residents are “very willing” or “somewhat willing” to recycle their food waste curbside.
  • There is a significant increase in support for area local governments to implement mandatory recycling for residents, businesses and institutions.
  • More than 90 percent of area residents feel local government should have a leadership or supportive role in educating residents about and developing policies on waste reduction and recycling.
  • 60 percent of area residents are “very willing” or “somewhat willing” to pay for their trash services based on the amount of trash they set out for disposal, i.e., adopting a pay-as-you-throw system of solid waste collection.

The full survey is available online.

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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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