Due to budget constraints, Blue Springs residents no longer have free access to area household hazardous waste recycling.
When the city finished its 2019-20 budget in September, it included a $180,000 decrease in the general fund from the previous year. Among the cuts: the city's participation in the Mid-America Regional Council's household hazardous waste recycling program, starting with the new year.
Citizens can still use the Lee's Summit facility at 2101 S.E. Hamblen Road, but for a $50 fee for up to 100 pounds of materials. In addition, the city will no longer host a household hazardous waste drop-off event in the spring.
Many cities across the metro area host drop-off events at which people can get rid of things such as old paint, cleaners, lawn and garden products, cleaning agents and automotive fluids. The idea is to keep those things out of landfills and waterways.
The city saves about $60,000 by not participating, and officials decided the rising cost couldn't be justified with the amount of citizen participation in another entity's program.
From 2016 to 2018, participation from Blue Springs citizens at drop-off events or locations numbered 576, 769 and 650 cars – generally assuming one car per household. Through September 2019, 610 cars had participated. Until 2019, the previous three years saw slightly more participation at regular drop-off locations in Kansas City and Lee's Summit than at the full organized event.
In a release, Mayor Carson Ross said he knows this will make some residents unhappy and that cut was “carefully evaluated and weighed with other resident priorities” outlined in a recent citizens survey.
“We recognize the inconvenience and understand the disappointment this may cause some residents who have used this program in the past,” Ross said, adding that he thanks MARC team members for their work with the program other regional initiatives.
“The decision to exit this particular program is completely based on costs and changing local priorities in Blue Springs.”
Available recycling facilities in addition to the Lee's Summit location can be found at recyclespot.org. User fees vary.