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Regional Solid Waste Planning

Missouri's Solid Waste Management Law of 1990 (SB-530) establishes a goal of reducing the amount of solid waste disposed of in landfills by 40 percent and required each county and city with a population over 500 to adopt a solid waste management plan. The statute provides for the creation of solid waste management districts like MARC's to help local governments meet this requirement.

The district developed its first solid waste management plan in 1994. The district evaluates the status of regional solid waste management planning through studies and surveys. These documents allow the district to establish new priorities and objectives to continually advance the goals of the original plan. The district also identifies priority project areas in the annual grant call to address specific needs in the district.

Solid Waste Status Report

The district funded this status report of the Kansas City metropolitan area to obtain initial information about:

  • Waste generation, diversion and disposal rates
  • Emerging trends in solid waste management
  • Recommendations for future planning and decision making

The district contracted with Franklin Associates, a Division of ERG, in 2003 to provide this information.

This report led to the establishment of four overriding policy directions that guide district efforts to improve:

  1. Regional cooperation
  2. Landfill capacity
  3. Waste diversion and minimization
  4. Local government action

The district initiated a dialogue with local officials, businesses and the public at large about solid waste management strategies to effectively plan for the solid waste challenges of the future and coordinate discussion on regional planning and policy issues.

Sustainable Solid Waste Management Study

In March 2008, the district contracted with Burns & McDonnell/CalRecovery to conduct a study to provide a snapshot of the region’s current waste management system, a future snapshot if no changes are made in the next 20 years, and alternative strategies which could improve the region’s waste reduction habits, ultimately leading to a zero-waste system. Based on the results of this study, the district embraced an ambitious goal to diverting 80 percent of the solid waste we generate from landfill disposal.

Residential Solid Waste Survey

From Oct. 2012 through Jan. 2013, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Solid Waste Management District conducted a recycling survey of residents in the nine-county Kansas City metro area. The purpose of the survey was to evaluate current recycling activities and knowledge, determine what recycling services residents would like to see in the future and determine focus areas for expanded services and outreach priorities. The survey also determined how citizens’ values, behavior and awareness levels have changed from the 2008 survey and 2005 survey data.

Community Benchmarking

The Sustainable Solid Waste Management Study assessed the region’s current waste management practices and explored the costs of continuing to manage the region’s waste in the same manner over a 20-year period. This study established incremental steps to achieve 40, 60 and 80 percent waste diversion over time. To support these efforts, the district created a guide for local governments, as a road map to services, policies and programs needed for success. 

To measure the contributions of local governments toward the waste diversion goals established by the district, the district developed a benchmarking tool to assess the progress of each community. Using available information, SCS Engineers categorized jurisdictions according to the services, policies, and infrastructure related to waste diversion. A self-assessment tool was also created for the use of jurisdictions not included in the benchmarking study.

Economic Impact of Reuse and Recycling

The processes of reusing goods and turning collected recyclables into new products creates a chain of economic activity and can result in business expansion, increased tax revenue and other economic growth. The district recently conducted a study to quantify the economic impact of recycling and reuse in the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area (KCMSA).

Dr. Joseph Martinich from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was the primary researcher for the study. The study methodology is compatible with the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2001 “U.S. Recycling Economic Information Study” and the Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority’s 2005 “Missouri Recycling Economic Information Study (MOREIS).

The study evaluated 26 commercial recycling, reuse or re-manufacturing (RRR) activities and estimates that in 2015:
  • Total direct employment for all 26 RRR industries combined in the KCMSA was 6,250, with direct annual payroll/personal income of $214 million and direct annual receipts/output of almost $1.4 billion.
  • When indirect and induced economic effects are included, the estimated total number of jobs supported by commercial RRR activities is 12,547, with total annual payroll/income of $419 million and annual receipts/output of $2.65 billion.
These RRR activities in the KCMSA are estimated to generate (including indirect and induced effects) annual government revenues of $144.0 million, of which $58.5 million accrue to State and local governments.

Reducing Wasted Food

Wasted food is a growing problem in our modern society.  Food accounts for nearly 13 percent of the amount of material that we send to local landfills. Reducing wasted food is a triple win; it's good for the environment, for communities, and for the economy. To help address the issue of wasted food, the district is an endorser of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge.

As part of the Food Recovery Challenge, organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results. Organizations are encouraged to follow the Food Recovery Hierarchy to prioritize their actions to prevent and divert wasted food.

Learn more about the Food Recovery Challenge and how your organization can participate.