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KC’s busiest free recycling drop-off site closes this weekend with no new site ready

A ‘single stream’ recycling system at work

Workers sort recycled materials at the Rolling Meadows Materials Recovery Facility in Shawnee County near Topeka. The center uses a system of machines to sort the co-mingled recycling that garbage haulers collect from residents and separate out th
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Workers sort recycled materials at the Rolling Meadows Materials Recovery Facility in Shawnee County near Topeka. The center uses a system of machines to sort the co-mingled recycling that garbage haulers collect from residents and separate out th

Kansas City’s busiest free recycling drop-off site is closing for good this weekend, and a new site may not open until next year.

Bridging the Gap, which operates three recycling sites for the city, notified the public by posting a notice online and at the site.

“The Metro North Recycling Center at 8729 N. Summit Street will close permanently on Saturday, October 13,” the online notice said. “The City of Kansas City is working hard to identify a new location for a recycling center in the Northland. Please check back here for progress reports.”

Bridging the Gap also operates the city’s recycling centers at 4707 Deramus Ave. and 5200 E. Red Bridge Road, both of which remain open.

Metro North recycle closing notice online.jpg
Kansas City’s recycling drop off site near the Metro North Shopping Center is closing permanently. It’s last day is Saturday, Oct. 13. screen shot from bridgingthegap.org

The closing Metro North site is the “largest by far” among the three that the city offers, said Thomas Schlange, recycling center operations manager at Bridging the Gap.

It is closing because redevelopment of the nearby site of the former Metro North Shopping Center does not include the recycling drop off center, said Lisa McDaniel, solid waste program manager at the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City.

Schlange said the Deramus site is on city property and the Red Bridge site is on property owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Schlange added that plans to close the Metro North site have been in the works for a year. The hope was to select and prepare a new location to open by Nov. 1, but work has not progressed as quickly as expected.

“I can guarantee you that is not going to happen,” Schlange said.

Once a site is selected, he said, engineering, signage and pavement work will need to be done. The new site, he said, would be on city property, which may allow the new location to remain in use.

Saturday’s closing adds to a long series of lost options for recyclers who want to drop off their cardboard, paper, plastic and cans rather than pay for curbside pickup services.

Earlier this month, Olathe limited its recycling drop-off sites to only cardboard and glass. Olathe still accepts paper, aluminum and cans at the Olathe Composting Facility, 1100 Hedge Lane.

Blue Springs closed its public drop off site a year ago, following similar closings of public recycling collection sites in Independence and Lee’s Summit.

BS volume chart
Blue Springs said its recycling drop off center grew quickly as other free drop off sites in the area closed. Blue Springs

Traffic surged at the Blue Springs site after others closed, said Joseph Koppe, who had worked at the Blue Springs site. Consumers dropped off a steady stream of cans, cardboard, plastic and other goods during the site’s operating hours.

“The only break I got was when I shut the gates,” Koppe said.

Many area schools also once collected recycling from the public. Each closure led more households to pay for curbside pickup of recycling or to stop recycling altogether.

Increasingly, the message to consumers has been that recycling costs rather than pays.

Recycling options are changing along with the economics of turning recoverable materials to new uses. China, once a major buyer of recyclable materials from the United States, has cut back dramatically.

Prices for materials also have dropped dramatically, making it less economical to collect and sort them for sale to packaging makers and other users.

Recycling information, including additional drop-off sites, is available online at MARC’s RecycleSpot.org.

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