If you build it, they will come. And if you make it easy, they will recycle.
A recent survey shows that 67 percent of area residents are recycling more compared to five years ago, in large part because it has become easier as curbside recycling is now widely available. Familiarity and satisfaction with recycling services are increasing as well. With this increased awareness, the region is also seeing increased support for expanding and improving waste reduction and recycling services.
Between October 2012 and January 2013, the Mid-America Regional Council Solid Waste Management District conducted a recycling survey of residents in the nine-county Kansas City metro area. The survey results will help the district evaluate current recycling activities and awareness, determine what recycling services residents would like to see in the future, and determine focus areas for expanded services and outreach priorities. The district also compared results with 2005 and 2008 survey data to determine how citizens’ values, behavior and awareness levels have changed.
Some of the most telling survey results:
• Residents’ satisfaction with three key recycling services increased from 2008 to 2012: Satisfaction with curbside recycling service was up 20 percent; satisfaction with yard waste collection and composting services was up 9 percent; and satisfaction with the location of drop-off recycling centers was up 7 percent.
• More than two-thirds of residents feel their community is performing well in terms of its commitment to recycling.
• There is a significant increase in the number of residents who reported they were recycling everything possible — from 39 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2012.
• 58 percent of area residents are willing to recycle their food waste curbside.
• The top services that area residents would like to see offered or expanded in their community are materials accepted curbside, household hazardous waste collection services, glass container recycling services, and computers/electronics recycling services.
• There is a significant increase in support for area local governments to implement mandatory recycling for residents, businesses and institutions.
• More than 90 percent of area residents feel local government should play a leadership or supportive role in educating residents about and developing policies on waste reduction and recycling.
• 60 percent of area residents are willing to pay for their trash services based on the amount of trash they set out for disposal. This “pay-as-you-throw” concept typically increases recycling and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
“It’s great to see this level increase in participation and support,” said Matt Riggs, outreach coordinator for the MARC Solid Waste Management District. “But we have a long way to go. About 70 to 85 percent of the average person’s trash is recyclable, but as a region we’re only recycling around 25 percent of our trash today.”
To read the complete survey visit: www.marc.org/Environment/SolidWaste/2012survey.htm .
For more information on where to recycle old paint, televisions, computers, glass, household items and much more, visit www.RecycleSpot.org.
- Story from Mid-America Regional Council