City of Overland Park: Recycling

A year of recycling success

The holidays are a great time to review the past year, reflect on what went well and recommit to goals for the next year.

Overall, 2009 was a great year for recycling and waste reduction. From the drop-off recycling center to several events and a new business endeavor, residents’ efforts have given good reason to raise egg nog filled glasses, stand under the mistletoe and think about how the community and environment have benefited.

Drop-off center
The Overland Park drop-off recycling center, 11921 Hardy, continues its success with an average of 387 customers, each recycling about 32 pounds, every day. During an average month the drop-off center collects enough newspaper to save nearly 200 trees and enough scrap metal to build five midsize sedans.

Electronics Recycling

New partners and 185 volunteers made two electronics recycling events in April and November a smashing success, with 205,183 pounds of materials collected.

Paper Shredding Event
Three shredding events netted 95,000 pounds of sensitive papers for destruction and recycling. As 42 percent of JohnsonCounty’s waste is paper and paper products, this amount of paper makes a big difference in reducing waste going to the landfill, where space is limited.

Large Item pick up

During the large item pick up days, 120,000 pounds of appliances were collected and recycled.

Glass Recycling

The purple Ripple Glass containers that are placed throughout the city are filling fast. Since late November, 10 tons of glass have been collected in Overland Park.

With 2010 approaching, new challenges will create new opportunities to re-think how to reduce, reuse and recycle the 4.7 pounds of waste each Johnson County resident generates each day.

Environmental Programs Coordinator Jim Twigg believes that 2010 will be a year of discussion, debate and change for solid waste and recycling in Overland Park and Johnson County.

If you’d like to get involved you are invited to volunteer for events or attend the Overland Park Solid Waste Task Force monthly meetings. For more information, contact Jim Twigg at jim.twigg@opkansas.org or 913-895-6273.

Savings at the flip of a switch

We all know we should turn off the lights when we leave a room, but how much energy does turning off unused appliances really save?

The answer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, is based on a simple calculation. Each appliance uses a different wattage to be able to operate, and these individual wattage figures-which can usually be found on the bottom or back of each appliance-help determine the total energy consumption an appliance uses each day.

To determine each item’s daily kilowatt-hour consumption, simply multiply the wattage figure by the number of hours the appliance is used each day and divide by 1,000.

Some appliances use more watts to run each hour than others. For example, a clock radio typically only uses about 10 watts to operate, whereas a clothes dryer can use anywhere from 1800 to 5000 watts. Our local utility, KCPL, also has an online calculator that calculates the cost based on your current electric rates.

Here are a few other examples of the wattage of common appliances:

· Coffee maker: 900-1200

· Clothes washer: 300-500

· Dishwasher: 1200-2400 (the drying feature greatly increases the energy consumed)

· Ceiling fan: 65-175

· Furnace fan: 750

· Portable Heater: 750-1500

· Personal Laptop computer: 50

· Computer monitor awake: 150 – Asleep: 30 or less

· Computer CPU awake: 120 – Asleep: 30 or less

When you do try to conserve energy, don’t simply switch an appliance to off. Appliances can still draw small amounts of power even when they aren’t on, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of electricity used to power electronics and appliances in the average home is consumed when the items are switched off. To avoid this energy use, use a power strip to shut off appliances or unplug anything that is not being used.

To learn more about conserving home energy use visit the U.S. Department of Energy.

Did you know….

The city adopted and enforces a stormwater treatment ordinance, which aims to minimize and prevent pollution from reaching local streams. In 2009, two commercial projects installed bioretention cells. In addition, the city has installed several “treatment facilities” that include a bioswale behind the Overland Park Recycling Center and storm interceptors at the new Overland Park Soccer Park.

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