Columbia looks to improve its recycling rates

3 years 9 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, February 24 2015 Feb 24, 2015 Tuesday, February 24, 2015 8:30:00 PM CST February 24, 2015 in News
By: Nick Hehemann, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The tallest man-made structure in Columbia isn't a parking garage or a building on MU's campus. It's the city's landfill, and it keeps growing. 

"Right now it's the highest elevation in the city of Columbia," Sustainability Manager Barbara Buffaloe said. "I don't like that."

Columbia is looking at ways to improve its solid waste diversion rate, or the percent of materials that don't go into the landfill. 

Its rate is currently just 17 percent, half the national average. 

So, city leaders are looking at ways to increase the amount of recycling in the community. 

"We want to live in a community that thinks about the whole life cycle of stuff," Buffaloe said. "So, if I can encourage people to waste less, and recycle more. That has an impact on our environment."

Columbia has held several public forums to discuss possible solutions to the problem. 

One option is to implement a pay-as-you-throw policy that would make residents pay for as much trash as they throw away but not extra for recycling the blue bags. 

"Communities that have made the change are going to see the biggest improvement in recycling," Buffaloe said. "If you really want people to recycle, you have to give them an incentive to."

Columbia Public Works Information Specialist Steven Sapp said one of the problems is finding a large enough labor force to collect curbside trash and recycling throughout the year. 

He said that 68 percent of the residential collection staff experiences turnover annually.

A lot of that has to do with the physical toll that lifting hundreds of bags in one day has on the workers. 

"Repetitive motion is going to cause injuries," Columbia Landfill and Recovery Superintendent Nick Paul said. "Guys have had knee operations and shoulder operations just picking up trash."

But the issues when it comes to recycling aren't limited to workers and residents. 

Some businesses in Columbia choose not to recycle because of either inconvenience or expense factors. 

The city has ten drop-off recycling containers throughout the city, but some businesses downtown don't recycle because the closest one, behind the 10th and Cherry parking garage, can sometimes be several blocks away. 

Rather than make a trip to the container or pay for commercial curbside recycling, Sapp said some businesses choose to just not recycle at all. 

He said the city has looked to both increase the overall number of containers and also place them in more effective spots to make the choice easier for these businesses. 

"Space in the downtown area is at a premium," Sapp said. "But that's one of the things the Community Improvement District has really gotten serious about, which is trying to find us space to do that."

The city will continue discussing other methods to help eliminate unnecessary waste and hopes to come up with an action plan sometime next year. 

The next public forum for the issue is Wednesday evening at City Hall from 6-8 p.m.

 

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Some students are starting to voice their opinions about possible redistricting of a new middle school. CPS... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 8:30:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More than 100 people gathered in Jefferson City Monday to learn more about the planned health care... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 8:08:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Nobel Prize winner George P. Smith, a retired professor, says he lives a rather humble life beyond the... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 7:13:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Monday asked the Democratic auditor... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 4:22:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's Dr. George Smith was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday afternoon in... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:50:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boone County circuit judge sentenced Miles Leighton Hillegas to seven years in prison Monday for an April... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:15:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Christian Fellowship School is mourning the loss of student Bryce Hill, who was killed in a crash Saturday... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:14:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU assistant professor Pamela Brown said Dr. George P. Smith deserves the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for more... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:06:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Charges have been filed in the fatal shooting of 19-year old Nilez Nichols in Jefferson City. Prosecutors... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The holiday period is a busy time for scams targeting shoppers, according to Michelle Gleba, Regional Director for... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 1:04:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A massive tuba ensemble has smashed a Guinness World Record in Kansas City and spread... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 12:07:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN- University of Missouri Professor Emeritus George Smith officially accepted his portion of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday.... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 11:18:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested Missouri defensive end Tre Williams early Sunday following a reported domestic incident. According to the... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 10:39:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Those struggling to afford holiday gifts for their loved ones may still have options. Registration ends today for... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:27:53 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia firefighters responded to a fire at Columbia Crossing Apartments on Towne Drive late Sunday night. Division... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:30:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Treacherous driving conditions and canceled flights could keep residents stuck at home for days as a nasty mix... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 6:25:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH – A dog groomer in Osage Beach has made it a mission to train service dogs after she... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 2:08:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — University of Missouri faculty members are raising concerns that the system's move to offer buyouts to... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:47:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 27°
11pm 28°
12am 28°
1am 28°
2am 28°