With new expenses charged by waste hauler, Shawnee Mission asks patrons to refrain from using school bins for personal recycling

Photo credit John Lambert Pearson.

Just a few years ago, the Shawnee Mission School District would receive a rebate from its waste hauler for the tons of recyclables collected from school properties.

Those days, unfortunately, are gone — and the district this year will for the first time be paying the waste collection company to pick up recycling.

With the change, the district is hoping patrons who’d become accustomed to dropping off household recycling in district-owned bins will change their habits.

“We value recycling in so many ways, and appreciate the community’s past support,” said Joan Leavens, the former school board member who is now the district’s sustainability and community engagement coordinator. “We hope community members can use Johnson County’s curbside recycling service from this point forward.”

New recycling bins that will be delivered to Shawnee Mission schools later this month will have locks on them to discourage members of the public from putting their personal recycling materials in.

The district stopped receiving a rebate from its waste hauler for recyclables in 2015, but it had not incurred a cost for recycling pick ups the past two years. This year, however, it will pay about $48,000 to its waste collection company, Republic Services, for recycling pick-up services.

“The recycling commodities market has changed drastically, here and nationwide,” said Shawnee Mission Director of Communications Shawna Samuel. “It’s simply more expensive to recycle items than it used to be, and that cost is being passed along to customers.”