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Examiner
  • Survey says recycling on the rise

  • Area residents say they are recycling more these days, as options such as curbside recycling have become more widely available.

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  • Area residents say they are recycling more these days, as options such as curbside recycling have become more widely available.
    “It really seems like things are moving in the right direction,” said Morris Heide, assistant director of public works for the city of Independence.
    The Mid-America Regional Council recently surveyed residents across nine metro counties. People said they are recycling more and taking their reusable shopping bags to the store. To a lesser extent, they said they are recycling more electronic devices, taking leaves and brush for composting or mulching more often, and taking advantage of events at which household hazardous wastes can be turned in.
    There was a large jump – from 39 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2012 – of those who say they recycle everything they can. Fewer people said they didn’t know where to take materials and that the available locations and times are inconvenient.
    Independence, for example, has drop-off sites Vista Avenue and 35th Street, each open two days a week, taking newsprint, boxes, plastic, glass and even items such as old batteries.
    Those two sites took in 677.17 tons of material in 2012, “and it’s been pretty consistent” for several years, Heide said.
    At the curbside – a collection service several local private haulers have added in recent years – 1,067 tons were collected, and that doesn’t include figures from some haulers who don’t report figures, he said. Curbside collection, however, typically doesn’t include items such as glass, and those surveyed expressed a desire for more options on that.
    MARC also broke down the survey results by county, and Jackson Countians indicated they are doing their part, too. Among the findings:
    • 81 percent of residents said their household recycles most of the time and another 10 percent said part of the time.
    • 70 percent said they are recycling “more frequently” or “somewhat more frequently” than they were five years ago, and most said that’s because of the availability of curbside recycling.
    • 61 percent said they are “very willing” or “somewhat willing” to recycle food waste at the curbside.
    • 66 percent said they think their communities are doing well with recycling efforts, but more than 90 percent said local government should lead or at least support efforts to reduce waste and expand recycling as well as get the word out about those programs.
     
     

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