Community Needs to Take More Responsibility in Recycling


Written by: Trinity Krouse, Co-Editor-in-Chief

American’s created 254 million tons of trash in one year alone reports the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With the amount of trash created by U.S. citizens rising every year, it makes a lot of people worried of the future of their planet. One way people think they can reduce waste output is by recycling more of their products, but the answer isn’t that simple. Although, most of the Basehor area is allowed to have recycling picked up at their house, starting this year, the Basehor-Linwood School District cut out recycling from their budget.

When an entire school district cuts out recycling, it seems to have a negative connotation, but when you look at the reason, the answer is a little less clear. The district originally was paid, as an incentive, by the recycling company to collect recycling by the ton. However, once Deffenbaugh Industries was bought out by Waste Management, they started incorporating charges into the recycling. While normal pickup was only around $225 for the whole district each month, if the bins were overflowing, lids wouldn’t close or plastic bags were visibly contaminating the bin, Waste Management would not only charge overage costs, but pick up the load as trash, recycling none of the “contaminated” materials. In December of 2018, the overage charges were over $1,400.

In the end, who’s to blame for the lack of recycling? The answer isn’t a clear one; it’s a combination of the school–for cutting out the expense–, the community–for throwing trash in with the recycling–and Waste Management–for making it harder to try and do the one thing that can reduce waste quickly.

While it may seem like the recycling issue is out of the public’s control, it is the opposite. The same people in the community who first tried to recycle, but didn’t do it properly, have the most potential to make a difference. The EPA also stated that in 2013, the U.S. recycled and composed 87 million tons of trash. This number needs to keep going up, and the public needs to be informed on what is allowed to be recycled. As an informed public, it is everyone’s responsibility to learn what these materials are. Here is the like for the Waste Management list of recyclables.