More than 900 removed from recycling program

Chad Frey
The Kansan
The City of Newton now has one full year of data to review when it comes to voluntary curbside recycling and its effects, after spending nearly the entirety of 2020 without a mandatory recycling program.

Fans of 1980s movies remember the line well — "Who ya gonna call?"

In the mind of City Commissioner Clint McBroom, when the recycling or trash in Newton is not picked up for one reason or another, there is a clear answer. And it is an answer he believes is not used enough. 

"I see so many comments ... people going to Facebook trying to find out why their recycling is not picked up," McBroom said during a city commission meeting this week. "... Facebook will not solve your recycling issue."

The answer is call the city sanitation department at 316-284-6070.

Sometimes there is a recycling violation, others could be a schedule change, weather or just a miss. 

"The ladies who answer the phone are wonderful and will answer any question you ask," McBroom said. "... Sometimes there are mistakes and it is just missed. They will come back and pick it up if that is the case. It happened at my house one day."

Unacceptable items in the recycling bin — which results in a note allowing residents to re-sort the bin and put it out again a week later. Two city commissioners have had violation notes. 

Three of those notes, however, means removal from the program. More than 930 residences have been suspended from the program within the last year. More than 2,000 residences are still in the program. 

The city changed its recycling program last year — responding to changes made by contractors at the recycling sorting center. 

"I think people get confused," said Suzanne Loomis, director of public works for the city. "On a nation-wide level it has been drilled into our heads that certain things are recyclable. Just because it is recyclable, does not mean that it is recyclable here."

Acceptable items include: 

• Aluminum & steel food & beverage containers

• Glass food & beverage containers

• No. 1 through 7 plastic containers - food & beverage, soap & lotion, household cleaners

• Clean pasteboard and mixed paper

• Clean corrugated cardboard - large boxes must be broken down flat and folded or cut into smaller pieces

And nothing else. 

"My one violation was for plastic bags," said Commissioner Rod Kreie. 

Mayor Richard Stinnett was also cited this year — for the plastic rings used to hold six packs of soda pop together. 

"It really is a 'when in doubt, throw it out' situation," Stinnett said.