Trash Talk

St. Louis is way behind the recycling curve. Don't expect that to change.

Hamilton notes that Kirkwood residents in 2004 voted against a curbside recycling program that would have cost about $4 per month. The same year, however, Kansas City began offering curbside recycling service to almost every city resident at a cost of $2.5 million per year. (That amount is generated from the city's 1 percent earnings tax, some private funding and a surcharge to those who discard more than two garbage bags.)

"In the past, in KC, the people that generated the most trash were being subsidized by everyone else," says Dee Ann Gregory, coordinator of the Kansas City recycling program. "Now, it's the reverse. We save a lot of money, and we hope to be a model."

Jerry Witter believes St. Louis ought to find ways to emulate Kansas City's reclamation program. He calls for implementing "a true citywide program where every home could participate and where the city actually paid for the service. That would be a lot cheaper for everybody."

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