Kirkwood May Have To Suspend Curbside Recycling

Resource Management no longer accepting city's mixed recyclables.

Brett Blume
August 20, 2018 - 3:12 pm
Workers separating paper and plastic on a conveyor belt in a recycling facility.

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KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) - The city of Kirkwood has long been on the forefront of the region's recycling efforts.

But that status could soon take a big hit.

City leaders have announced that Resource Management, Kirkwood's recycling processor, has informed them that they'll no longer be able to accept the city's mixed recyclables.

"We've been looking for a provider that will take our single-stream recycling," says Kirkwood Public Services Director Bill Bensing. "At this time we have not been able to identify a provider for that service."

He says unless another processor is identified and contracted soon, city officials have tentatively decided to suspend its curbside recycling efforts as of October 22.

Bensing says that would be a shame because Kirkwood has a long history of being on the cutting edge of environmentally policies.

"Kirkwood is known for its recycling," he says. "We've come close to 50 percent of our waste being diverted from the landfill through recycling and yard waste."

It's a situation that city leaders contend is driven by international markets, specifically China's decision to no longer accept mixed recyclables due to high contamination levels.

"We have to have a place that will accept the collected mixed recyclables," says Russ Hawes, Kirkwood's chief administrative officer. "This decision was not based on costs."

The city plans to retrofit the Francis Scheidegger Recycling Depository on S. Taylor Avenue to accept separated recyclables including glass, aluminum, paper and certain plastics.

That depository has been accepting recycled waste since 1971.

"We're doing everything we can to save our curbside recycling program, in light of the sudden and drastic recycling market changes," Kirkwood Mayor Tim Griffin says. "We have to prepare a plan of action if we cannot find a facility to take our mixed recyclables."

He adds that the city will have a more complete picture of the recycling landscape in early September.

At that time, residents will be notified of changes by letter and through social media.