MU alum wins grants to expand city recycling

Monday, September 1, 2008 | 9:50 a.m. CDT; updated 9:08 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 1, 2008

The city's newest recycling project is a product of intergovernment cooperation and one woman's passion for recycling.

"I've always been interested in trash," said Kiersa Toll, a graduate of MU and current employee of the Missouri Recycling Association. Her first recycling project, when she was 5, was helping her parents pick up trash from the side of the road and sort out the recyclable items.

As a general studies student with a waste reduction focus, Toll wanted her senior project to benefit Columbia's recycling program. She approached Layli Terrill, Columbia's waste minimization supervisor, who in turn directed her to the Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission. Toll researched and wrote a grant proposal for a new recycling program that would allow the department to expand its recycling program.

The two departments worked with Toll, but according to Terrill, Toll "pretty much did it all."

The "Seasonal Beverage Container Recycling Project," if passed by the City Council on Tuesday, will appropriate $4,800 to put more recycling bins in designated areas of Columbia's parks. That money will match a $4,721 grant from the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District.

The city implemented a similar recycling project for beverage containers in April 2003, according to the Show-Me Recycling Report, a comprehensive statewide report put together by the Missouri Recycling Association, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Solid Waste Management Districts.

According to the report, the city placed 60-gallon blue bins next to gas pumps and garbage cans outside convenience stores. As of 2007, 147 containers were in use at 41 convenience stores, and 150,000 pounds of used beverage containers had been recycled.

"The C-Store program is more successful than we anticipated," Richard Weiman, solid waste utility manager, said in the report.

In addition to the convenience store project, Park Services Manager Michael Griggs said his department has been working with the Public Works Department to maintain recycling bins at some of the city's larger recreational facilities, but the council encouraged more recycling.

"We were directed by the City Council to look at ways to expand the recycling programs," Griggs said.

The appropriated funds will be used to buy bins similar to those already near convenience stores and in parks and to place them at every athletic field, in the parking lots of those fields and near park shelters, Griggs said.

"It's what citizens expect," Griggs said. "When they're done with their drink bottles, they look for a recycling container. We want to give them that option."

Toll will help the commission assess the program after it gets going, and there is a possibility for more programs in the future. "If this phase is successful, we'll look to expanding it to other parks," Griggs said.

"I'm going to take my kids to their soccer games and look for those recycling bins," Toll said. "I'll know I had a part in it, in making a difference. It's exciting. I've actually accomplished something."


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Ray Shapiro September 2, 2008 | 1:26 p.m.

A "squeaky tight" budget should not have room for a new $5,000 expenditure for garbage cans. One woman's passion for trash should not be that influential. (Let her write the check and have it matched, or let those who make money off of recycled goods foot the bill.) These ideas may make some people feel good, but let someone else pay for it, especially when there are enough "good" ideas we are already trying to maintain. I hope the city council does not appropriate $5,000 of new money towards receptacles. We have enough garbage to address already!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 2, 2008 | 3:16 p.m.

How do you know that the grant money wasn't already budgeted, or rebudgeted from another purpose, in the Parks and Rec department?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 2, 2008 | 4:06 p.m.

John Schultz you are so clueless and if you are going to make comments like that at least explain yourself and if not p[lease go sit down.

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady September 2, 2008 | 4:13 p.m.

Au contraire!

>A "squeaky tight" budget should not have room for a new $5,000 expenditure for garbage cans. One woman's passion for trash should not be that influential. (Let her write the check and have it matched, or let those who make money off of recycled goods foot the bill.)

It's not one woman's passion for trash. It's a lot of us wanting to have a smaller footprint. WE generate the trash. Columbia Public Works makes money off the recycling. And she did have it matched - by the Solid Waste District. That's a 50% off bargain for the city!

WE own the landfill and WE know it's cheaper to extend its life than try to find a new one.

>These ideas may make some people feel good, but let someone else pay for it, especially when there are enough "good" ideas we are already trying to maintain.

Let someone else pay for it? Why? It's our trash!
It costs a bit more to recycle it than pile it up in an environmental sacrifice zone, but it's the right thing to do.

I'm guessing you wouldn't complain if they were just buying a new garbage truck to throw it in the landfill.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 2, 2008 | 4:44 p.m.

Well, the containers are either going in the recycling containers or in the trash. It costs the city money to dispose of them either way. Keeping some of the waste out of the landfill may well be worth the $5,000 over time.


(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 2, 2008 | 7:58 p.m.

Chuck, you seem to be on a little tear after your precious program almost got the axe. I think you need to back away from the situation a bit and consider that you may not know every darn thing about how the city does or should run.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 2, 2008 | 10:56 p.m.

"Let someone else pay for it? Why? It's our trash!"

--It's not my trash. You pay for it! I don't drink corn syrup in a can or plastic bottled products. Change the packaging of our drinks or you can change what you choose to purchase. In effect, you can change the kind of trash you have to deal with. (Bring back the nickel or dime deposit and save the city some money.) I also think that just because someone offers to match your money doesn't make the expenditure on your part worthwhile. It's my understanding that 25mil. of city money had to be used on a bicycle matching deal. I was completely happy before I had to worry about bicycles in my way. I'm also happy with the trash I generate and how it's currently disposed of.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 2, 2008 | 11:35 p.m.

The $25 million was a grant from the federal government and the city did not have to pony up any funds to get it.

I'm glad the city (or the voters, rather) got rid of the deposit. Talk to someone involved in the redemption end of the process and you'll find out just how much of a burden it was on the retailers.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 3, 2008 | 11:45 a.m.

I apologize if my source was wrong concerning matching dollars...

A Recent Federal Bill Clears the Path for Biking and Walking

The $286 billion highway transportation bill signed in August 2005 dedicates $4.5 billion to bicycling and walking projects, a sharp increase of 2 billion from the $2.5 billion spent under the previous transportation law. Mayor Darwin Hindman of Columbia, Missouri was recently granted $25 million in Federal money to spend on improving bicycling and walking routes in his community over the next 5 years. To access this federal grant money, cities must be able to "match" federal dollars with local funds.

--And I enjoyed having a summer job at Gerbes sorting out beverage bottles and cans and knew some folks who were able to obtain "spare change" by recycling tossed away bottles and cans. Besides, it was the retailers problem and not the city's. (The problem was taking care if itself, even if it was an "inconvenience.")

(Report Comment)

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