Blue Springs is on the verge of losing its recycling drop off site

Posted at 7:08 AM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 15:17:38-04

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- The new budget for the city of Blue Springs has advised closing the Pink Hill Park Recycling Center, citing a six-figure bill it can no longer afford to pay. This closure would be the fifteenth recycling drop off site to close over the past year in our area. 

Going green by way of recycling cost Blue Springs $12,000 last fiscal year, but that number would jump to about $100,000 next year after new negotiations with the waste management company.

By the numbers

WCA, the waste management company that works the Pink Hill Park recycling center, charges the city every time a recycling bin is hauled away. In 2017, a single haul cost the city $69.50. In 2018, that number would rise to $185 per haul.

WCA also gives Blue Springs a portion of the money it makes selling the recycling. In 2017, Blue Springs got 80 percent of that money, but the new negotiations would leave them with only 10 percent in 2018.

Last fall, several school districts including Kansas City, Kansas, Independence, Blue Springs and Lee's Summit, closed their bins to the public. The city of Lee's Summit and Independence have also closed drop off sites.

As those sites have closed, the facilities and resources at Pink Hill Park have felt more strain. Data show the site's recycling volume has roughly tripled since Lee’s Summit and Independence sites closed over the past two years.

"We're already over what we collected last year, and we are only eight months into the year," explained Kim Nakahodo, assistant to the city manager of Blue Springs.

The WCA contract

WCA blames fallen values of recyclable goods and stricter processing for why it is asking for much more money to do the same job.

"These drop off sites have to pay more of the true costs of hauling and processing than they used to," said Tom Coffman, spokesperson for WCA. "The value of the materials aren't what they used to be, and they don't offset the hauling costs."

In the past, WCA has been able to sell aluminum for $1.50 a pound. During this renegotiation, the same amount has been selling for between 30 and 60 cents.

"Now, there is so much of that commodity in the market, just like anything, when you have a lot in the market, that price goes down," explained Nakahodo.

The first reading of the proposed budget will be at the city council meeting Wednesday, September 6, at the Howard L. Brown Public Safety building at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and share thoughts.