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Lee’s Summit weighs price increase for composting

Updated: 2014-02-12T00:11:09Z

By RUSS PULLEY

Special to The Star

With white blanketing Lee’s Summit yards, grass clippings probably haven’t been on too many minds. But the cost of getting rid of them might go up.

The city wants to discourage the amount of yard waste coming into the Resource Recovery Park because the volume is overwhelming the capacity for composting and storage.

That’s why a City Council committee is recommending that prices be increased for recycling yard waste. The full council could consider the issue as soon as Feb. 20.

“We’ve always used fee structures to bring in more material or throttle it back,” said Chris Bussen, superintendent of solid waste.

Lee’s Summit recently had to switch to a smaller composting pad because it needed more dirt from the site of the old pad to cover trash being put into the landfill.

In addition to the increased volume, Bussen said, a firm that had been buying a lot of Lee’s Summit compost has stopped doing so. Combined, those two factors will result in more material than the city can handle.

Bussen said the city charges less for composting than do competitors in the area, so the price increase is a strategy to decrease intake.

For people hauling their own bags of clippings to the park for composting, prices won’t go up. They’re charged 75 cents a bag for residents and $1.50 a bag for non-residents.

About 30 percent of residents dispose of clippings that way, Bussen said.

The possible effect on other Lee’s Summit consumers is uncertain because it isn’t known how trash haulers would react. The haulers might pass along the price increases, Bussen said, or take yard waste elsewhere.

The price increase to haulers, if approved by the council, would go from $9.38 per cubic yard for a packer-full of yard waste to $37.52 a cubic yard.

That’s unless the hauler has a contract with the city to deliver a minimum of 200 tons of trash to the landfill as well. Then the price for yard waste would be $18.76 a cubic yard.

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