Two eco-friendly practices — textile recycling and beekeeping — are closer to becoming a reality for residents of Prairie Village.
The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to negotiate an agreement with a thrift store group for a one-year textile recycling project. Additionally, the council agreed to develop an ordinance allowing beekeeping in the city.
Beekeeping is not specifically addressed in the city’s animal control ordinance, but bees are considered part of the livestock section and are not allowed.
Textile recycling would involve weekly door-to-door pickups of residents’ unwanted clothing, shoes, linens and small household wares by a thrift store group called Team Thrift. The materials collected would be sold in local thrift stores or bundled and sold to another end user, potentially outside the country.
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Revenue from the collected materials would be shared between Team Thrift and the Prairie Village Municipal Foundation, the city’s nonprofit supporting organization. The foundation supports utility assistance for Prairie Village residents, provides recreation scholarships for needy Prairie Village families, donates to food pantries, provides home repairs for qualified residents and contributes to Habitat for Humanity homes in Prairie Village.
City Administrator Quinn Bennion estimated that if only 2 percent of residents participated, the program could generate up to $70,000 annually for the city.
“This is a very unique idea,” said Bennion. “We don’t know of any other community either locally or nationally doing this.”
Other textile recycling programs studied by city staff don’t involve municipal governments. Additionally, funds generated from those programs don’t benefit cities or city foundations.
Team Thrift is a thrift store group that helps support organizations such as the City Union Mission and Disabled American Veterans. Team Thrift also operates several stores in the Kansas City area. An agreement will be presented to the council in the coming weeks.
Dennis Patton, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent, discussed the pros and cons of beekeeping prior to the council agreeing to move forward in developing a beekeeping ordinance.
Patton said honeybees provide pollination for plants and are extremely important to crops. “We need to make sure future generations understand the importance of bees to our environment,” he said.
Council members questioned Patton regarding beekeeping concerns, including the possibility of bees swarming or stinging residents. Patton said honeybees are not typically aggressive. Swarms occur when bees are looking for a new hive, he said.
“Responsible beekeepers try to keep their hives small so a swarm doesn’t start looking for a second colony,” he said. “Swarms happen regularly in nature with feral bees.”
Police Chief Wes Jordan said several area cities allow beekeeping, including Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Shawnee, Westwood and Kansas City.
City staff was directed to develop a beekeeping ordinance for future consideration. Several bee-keepers attended the meeting and Prairie Village resident Jonathan Callison spoke in favor of the ordinance.