KCUR News
10:32 am
Fri October 8, 2010

Johnson County Overhauls Trash Rules

Johnson County, Kansas – Curbside recycling will soon be seen in all of Johnson County. The Board of Commissioners passed new solid waste management codes in a six to one vote yesterday.

It means that starting in 2012, all trash haulers in the county will be required to provide curbside recycling, compost yard waste, and charge people extra for disposing more than 96 gallons of trash. That's in contrast to the current fixed fees many residents pay, regardless of how much garbage they throw out.

Betsy Betros is with the county's environmental department. She says the new measures are increasingly necessary because the county's only landfill is getting full.

"That sent up the red flag that we really need to start rethinking how we're managing solid waste in Johnson County," says Betros. "And take a higher level of responsibility that it's not just waste, but it's actually a resource."

Betros says recyclable or compostable materials make up about two thirds of what's currently in the county's landfill. It's expected to reach capacity in the next ten to fifteen years.

Several cities throughout the region already have recycling programs, but the county's overall recycling rate is around 23%, about ten points below the national average.

Johnson County Commissioner Calvin Hayden cast the only vote yesterday against the measures, over concerns that trash pick-up rates would be higher in rural parts of the county.