Via Steven Depolo/Flickr

As recycling centers close in KC area, strain grows on those still open

The Kansas City area will lose yet another free recycling drop-off site on Oct. 1, marking the 15th free drop-off site that will have disappeared in roughly a year’s time. And each closure has ratcheted up the strain on those still open.

Blue Springs, for example, saw its recycling volumes surge after free drop-offs closed first at city schools, then at two municipal drop-off sites in Lee’s Summit and most recently at two sites in Independence.

While more recycling might sound like a good thing, it turned into a bad thing for Blue Springs, since recycling drop-off sites lose money and can only stay open if city budgets can cover the gap between what centers cost to operate and what they earn from selling the aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, plastic and other recyclable materials they take in. The more material they recycle, the more money they lose.

And the worsening economics of recycling means financial losses are growing faster than the piles of materials at drop-off centers.

Free drop-off sites struggle against other problems, including contamination. Usually, sites operate without staff and sloppy recyclers dump their trash — including hypodermic needles, propane tanks and deer carcasses.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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