FAQs

Have questions about waste? You've come to the right place.

Q: What happens to my items after I recycle them?

A: Once your items have been collected they are taken to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). At the MRF, everything is sorted, cleaned and baled. The MRF then ships the materials to brokers or directly to manufacturers. The recyclables are then made into new products, closing the recycling loop.

Q: What types of residential solid waste services are available in my community?

Metro-wide survey responses demonstrate residents desire a common set of core services:

  • Curbside services – trash, recycling, yard waste and bulky item pickup
  • Drop-off services – recycling, yard waste, household hazardous waste (HHW) and community cleanup days

These services are often complemented with special one-day collection events for HHW, electronics, paper shred or other common reusable or recyclable items. Visit your community’s page to see what services are offered in your city or county.

Q: My company or organization accepts materials for recycling and/or resale, how can I get listed or update my information on RecycleSpot?

A: Help us help you help people divert waste! RecycleSpot can connect residents to your organization and its services. Get listed or update your information.

Q: I'm just one person…how much of a difference can I make by reducing, reusing and recycling?

A: You can make an enormous impact simply by making small changes in your waste habits. Each of us throws away about four pounds of trash a day – instead of tossing those items into the garbage bin, think about how much could be diverted from landfills through reduction, reuse or recycling! And don't forget that the 3 Rs also have a number of other benefits for our community, the environment and your wallet!

Q: They're emptying my recycling bin into a trash truck — what gives? Are the materials I recycle really being recycled?

A: Indeed they are! Curbside recycling bins are often emptied into a "packer truck" that collects both trash and recyclable materials and sorts them at a processing facility. This process, known as "single stream" waste management, is more efficient than sorting into several specialized vehicles and allows a wider range of items to be collected. Think of it as "recyclable ride-sharing!"

Q: What do recycling fees pay for?

A: Recycling companies earn money from large quantities of recyclables — tractor trailer loads — versus small quantities generated by an individual resident. Revenues may cover the cost to process and ship a material but not necessarily the cost to collect it from each household. The best way for residents to financially benefit from recycling is "pay-as-you-throw" system similar to other utilities like water and gas, where the user fee is based on the amount of trash disposed and recycling is unlimited.

Q: How should I prepare my stuff for the recycle bin or drop-off center?

A: Empty and rinse all containers, flatten large plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, and remove and recycle caps and lids. It's okay to leave labels on containers. Do not place anything in a recycling bin that is not accepted by your recycling program.

Q: Why should I buy products made with recycled materials?

A: When you buy items with recycled content, you're helping close the recycling loop. Harvesting raw materials to create new products uses large amounts of resources and energy. Materials collected through recycling programs are put to good use as new products. Recycled-content products are comparable in price and quality to products made from virgin materials. Look for recycled products with the highest post-consumer content. Learn more about recycled products >

Q: What plastics can I recycle?

A: Plastics numbered 1–7 can be recycled at most recycling centers and curbside recycling programs throughout the Kansas City metro area. These numbers are the resin codes that appear in the "chasing arrow" symbol usually on the bottom of the container. These plastics include most food and beverage containers and exclude most other types of plastics (sheeting, pipes, siding, toys, tools, kitchenware, hazardous materials containers, etc.). Always call your hauler or recycling center to confirm the types they accept. More information about plastics recycling >

Q: What's the deal with glass? Why can't I put it in my curbside bin?

A: One of the biggest reasons haulers can't accept glass in your curbside bin: glass breaks. If broken glass gets into a load of other recyclables like paper or cardboard, it contaminates them and makes the materials unusable and unable to be recycled. In addition, glass poses a safety hazard for the workers who handle the waste, not to mention the danger of broken glass on neighborhood streets or sidewalks. But that doesn't mean you can't recycle glass in our area! There's likely a big, purple Ripple Glass bin near you where you can drop off your glass bottles and containers, and they'll help turn your glass into a variety of new products!

Q: Why can't I recycle certain things?

A: To successfully recycle something, three conditions must be met:

  • The ability to collect it.
  • The ability to process it.
  • An economically viable end market. Basically, companies can purchase that material and make new products with it.

If any one of these three is not available within a region, the material cannot be recycled.

Q: Can someone give a presentation on waste reduction and recycling to my group?

A: We'd be delighted to! The MARC Solid Waste Management District offers direct education on the 3 Rs through speakers, staffing for tabling events, and a wide range of outreach materials. Request a presentation today.

Q: What if there are no recycling options for my item(s)?

A: Sometimes materials just can't be reused or recycled. Those items can be disposed of at local landfills and transfer stations.

Q: I need some quick facts on reducing, reusing and recycling. Where should I look?

Q: Why should I bring HHW to a facility or mobile event?

A: Landfills are not the appropriate place for hazardous materials. Proper disposal of HHW protects our waterways, protects trash haulers from exposure to dangerous materials, lowers the risk for fire hazards, avoids potential poisonings, and reduces illegal dumping.

Q: Is there a limit on the amount of material I can bring to an HHW collection event?

A: While mobile events do not have limits, consider using a facility if you have a substantial amount of HHW. The KCMO facility has no limit; the Lee's Summit facility has a 100-pound limit per visit. Proper disposal of HHW protects our waterways, protects trash haulers from exposure to dangerous materials, lowers the risk for fire hazards, avoids potential poisonings, and reduces illegal dumping.

Q: What does it mean when an HHW mobile event has "ABOP" in the description?

A: "ABOP" means that particular event only accepts Antifreeze, Batteries, Oil and Paint.

Q: Do I have to make an appointment for HHW mobile events?

A: No, appointments are not required for mobile collection events.

Q: Why do some HHW facilities require appointments?

A: HHW includes combustibles and highly toxic substances; for safety reasons, facility staff needs to attend to each visitor individually to ensure proper handling and disposal of materials. Scheduling a drop-off appointment saves time by allowing staff to prepare for accepting visitors' materials.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of visits I can make to the HHW facility or events?

A: No – residents in participating communities can visit any of the events or either facility in the regional program as needed. For safety purposes an appointment is required at the facilities.

Q: I can't make it to the HHW collection event the day it's scheduled for my community — what can I do?

A: The HHW program offers year-round service. Residents can attend any of the mobile events or visit the two permanent facilities.