A Blue Springs community group is hosting upcoming events designed to maintain momentum while waiting for city officials to decide the future of recycling in the city.
This Saturday, Green Blue Springs will sponsor Green Up Clean Up, in which volunteers will break into groups to tackle trash in some of the city’s most visible areas, said Scott Casey, the group’s founder.
In addition, the group is asking area businesses to submit information about their environmentally friendly efforts to be recognized on the group’s Facebook page, he said.
The city’s Solid Waste Commission began looking into the recycling issue last fall to determine a way to move forward following the closing of the recycling hub at Pink Hill Park.
City officials announced the center’s closing last summer when the center fell victim to a dilemma facing many area city-operated facilities: little to no profit for recyclables coupled with escalating operating costs. The global problem came home when costs of the Blue Springs center rose from about $12,000 to $100,000 annually.
“It’s still going to move forward at some point,” Senior Planner Matt Wright said, adding that he’s not sure why the issue has not appeared on a City Council agenda. But he says it could come before the council this summer.
The seven-member Solid Waste Commission, in operation since 1998, was charged with researching scenarios for a center, and tackles other waste-worthy issues and is slated next to meet in June, Wright said. The commission’s findings include:
• Designating city funds to re-open and operate the center.
• Charging a residential fee to cover costs.
• Getting additional bids and other information from trash haulers to compare recycling costs.
The Saturday clean up event will begin with cleanup at the Blue Springs Dog Park near Adams Dairy Parkway and Interstate 70 and will include nearby Lake Remembrance. If participation warrants, groups can disperse throughout the city, the Facebook page states.
About 15 people had signed up for the event as of early this week, but Casey said the group is expecting at least 30 people to participate. Volunteers can sign up on the Green Blue Springs Facebook page or show up at 8:30 a.m. at the dog park.
Business submissions will be accepted beginning the same day as the cleanup and running through midnight Saturday, May 26. To submit, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries should include up to three photos that can be used to illustrate company efforts.
The Green Blue Springs Facebook page states that members also participated in the recent household hazardous waste event. The site shares other tips for keeping the city clean, including picking up trash, planning flowers and trees, using renewable energy and initiating new green policies at work places and promoting recycling.
Another Blue Springs volunteer group, not affiliated with Green Blue Springs, held a spontaneous cleanup in April.
“We were happy to see other people had the same idea,” Casey said. “It’s just a good indication it’s something on people’s minds and they want to see action taken.”
Casey, who sits on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, initiated Green Blue Springs after an unsuccessful bid for the City Council. During his door-to-door campaign, he noted many residents were concerned about the future of recycling in the city. After the City Council voted to close the center, Green Blue Springs volunteers gathered about 900 signatures from residents who visited the Pink Hill facility during its last days of operation. The signatures pledge support for a citywide recycling program to replace the facility.
Other Eastern Jackson County communities, including Independence and Lee’s Summit, also have closed their citywide recycling centers and are searching for alternatives, including forming an areawide center through the Mid-America Regional Council, that would serve several communities.