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johnson county residents

We understand the importance of protecting our planet. Since Johnson County Government created its first sustainability committee in 2004, being mindful of our impact on the environment has become a priority in the construction and maintenance of County buildings. The United States Green Building Council has certified two of our buildings as LEED Platinum and five others as LEED Gold. We’ve expanded our fleet of alternative fuel and Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and made strides towards ambitious waste goals. We also offer our residents many ways to make sustainability part of their lives through The Jo transit system, and recycling opportunities for Household Hazardous Waste, expired medications and unwanted electronics. Together we can make a difference!

Environmental News

Can I recycle this?

It's super bowl weekend, which means lots of parties, pizza-ordering and yes . . . trash. It can be tricky to remember what can and can't go in your recycling bin, so the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has put together a handy list of the top 10 most confusing items, published in the most recent issue of JoCo Magazine. Here are some tips that might come in handy this weekend: 

  • Pizza boxes? YES. You can remove greasy spots, cheese and other food contaminates first. If your pizza box is clean and doesn’t contain a large amount of grease, it can be recycled in your curbside bin. If it’s too greasy, simply tear off the top for recycling and trash the rest.
  • Plasticware and paper plates? NO. Contrary to popular belief, plastic silverware and paper plates are not recyclable, even when clean. They are not suitable for recycling because of the odd shape of plasticware and the low quality of plastic and paper materials. Reduce waste at your next event by using durable, reusable plates and silverware instead.
  • Red Solo cups? YES. The forgotten verse of that Toby Keith song: finish your drink, make sure it’s empty and recycle your red Solo cup.
  • K-Cups? NO. K-Cups and other single-serve coffees are growing in popularity. While K-Cups are convenient and come in many flavors, because of their size and material components, they should not be recycled. K-Cups belong in the trash.

View the full list on jocogov.org; print it out and post it on the wall near your recycling bin so everyone in your houshold can be in the know!

2017 Environmental Sanitary Code Fee Increases

Under the 2004 Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code , the Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) is responsible for regulating private sewage treatment systems, swimming pools and spas in the unincorporated area and within the ten municipalities that have adopted the Code.

The Code establishes the authority to assess various user fees to cover program administration and enforcement costs and to increase fees over time as needed.  View the 2017 Fee increase.

Celebrate America Recycles Day in Downtown Overland Park

In celebration of America Recycles Day, Johnson County and Downtown Overland Park Partnership are hosting two events;

1. An electronics recycling event on Tuesday, November 15th from 10am to 1pm. In partnership with ProShred you can drop off your old electronics including, TVs, computers, and nearly anything with a cord or that uses batteries to be properly recycled, All electronics are free to drop off except TVs ($20 each) and CRT monitors ($15 each). The event will be held in the parking lot near the farmer's market pavilion- enter and exit from Marty St., in between 79th and 80th St. As a courtest, county staff and volunteers from L'Arche's Green Express Program will be assisting with the unloading of your vehicle.

2. Throughout the week of November 14th - 19th, several businesses in Downtown Overland Park will be hosting a locked and secured collection bin where residents can dispose of confidential documents for shredding; this is a free service provided by ProShred, who will collect the paper, shred it at their facility, and recycle it. Drop-off locations include Downtown Overland Park Partnership and Ten Thousand Villages. Each host will have the bin available during their regular business hours.

Health and Environment employees recognized for innovation

Johnson County Governemnt encourages employees to innovate and improve processes through a program called "Project Impact" which recognizes employees who bring their ideas for improvement forward and seem them through implementation. During a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting, three employees from the Department of Health and Environment were presented a Certificate of Recognition from Chairman Eilert. Julie Davis, Kalenna Coleman, and Nolan Kappleman were all recognized for their innovate approach to recycling paint at the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Click here to watch a video that explains how Nolan, Kalenna, and Julie took a program that originally cost the county money to one that now generates revenue.

Free Healthy Yards Expo this Saturday

A free event on Saturday will help you make greener choices for your yard and garden. The Healthy Yards Expo on Saturday, April 2 is a partnership between Johnson County K-State Research and Extension, Johnson County Stormwater Management and the cities of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee. Activities include tips from lawn and gardening experts, door prizes, and even a free soil test. We invite you to click here to learn more about this event.

FAQs: What goes in the recycling bin?

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is continually fielding questions about recycling. Here are answers to some of the most common questions asked! 

Q: What can I recycle in my curbside bin?

A: Recycle all empty plastic bottles and containers, cans, paper and cardboard.

Q: Why can’t plastic bags go in the curbside recycling bin?

A: Thin, flimsy plastics such as plastic grocery bags, bread bags and films are not compatible with the machines that sort recyclables at the processing facility. Many grocery stores will collect plastic bags at their entrance for recycling.

Q: Should I leave the lids on or off?

A: Leave the lids on. This is a new trend in the recycling industry. It used to be lids off, now they can be left on. Be sure to empty all the liquids before recycling.

Q: What about Styrofoam; it displays the #6 with the recycling symbol?

A: Styrofoam should be thrown in the trash. While it is a foam made from plastic, it is mostly air and has no recyclable market value.

Q: Where can I recycle my glass?

A: Glass is not accepted in your regular curbside program, however, it can be dropped off at a purple Ripple Glass bin or you can contract with one of several companies that pick up curbside.

Q: What about my pizza box?

A: Pizza boxes are recyclable, food is not. Remove all the food and greasy spots and recycle the rest. If the bottom of the box is covered in grease and cheese you can tear off the top of the box and recycle it.

Q: Can box cartons such as juice, soy and dairy be recycled?

A: YES! Cartons are now accepted curbside for recycling. No juice pouches at this time. Make sure cartons are empty before recycling.

Q: How clean does a container need to be before recycling it?

A: Containers should be rinsed and empty. They do not need to be thoroughly washed. Sticky items such as peanut butter jars just need to be wiped out to be “clean enough”.

Q: Can egg cartons be recycled?

A: There are three different types of egg cartons: Plastic can be recycled. Styrofoam should go in the trash. Paperboard is also unrecyclable but is great in a compost pile. Many farmers at your local farmers markets will accept your egg cartons for reuse.

Q: How are the comingled recyclables collected curbside separated out for recycling?

A: A combination of machines and employees sort all of the materials collected for recycling into metal, plastic, paper and cardboard. Johnson County has a great five minute video that follows the trail of your recyclables from the curb to the processing facility. Watch it at www.jocogov.org.

Johnson County Wastewater brings home prestigious awards

Johnson County Wastewater was recognized in July at the NACWA national conference held in Providence, R.I. for its outstanding compliance records in the 2014 calendar year and was presented with two Platinum Awards. In total, JCW earned six Peak Performance awards.

JCW received two Platinum Peak Performance Awards to honor treatment works that have completed at least five years of complete and consistent National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit compliance.

The county’s Platinum Award recipients are:

  • The Mill Creek Regional Plant at 20001 West 47th Street in Shawnee for eight years of permit compliance, and
  • The Blue River Main Plant at 2523 West 151st Street in Overland Park for nine years of permit compliance.

Three JCW treatment facilities received the Gold Peak Performance Award, which honors treatment works that have achieved 100 percent compliance with the NPDES permit for 2014.

The Gold Peak Performance Award honorees are:

  • Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Plant
  • New Century AirCenter Plant
  • Tomahawk Creek Plant

One treatment facility earned a Silver Peak Performance Award, which recognize facilities that received no more than five NPDES permit violations in 2014.

The Silver Peak Performance Award honoree is:

  • Myron K. Nelson Plant

In 2014, Johnson County Wastewater had a 99.7 percent compliance rate with regard to NPDES discharge violations. Of a possible 2,237 violations, the department recorded seven violations for the year.

“It is very difficult to achieve that level of compliance,” said John O’Neil, general manager for Johnson County Wastewater.

PICTURED: The Johnson County Board of Commissioners recently presented the awards to (front to back, left to right): Rick Beery, Phil Webster, John Manis, Robert Morris, Andy Super, Keith Hall, Tim Engbroten, Kenny Kellison, Kurt Winters, Deanna Ketner, and Mark Anderson.

Johnson County Launches New HHW On-Line Scheduling Application

Johnson County has redesigned the HHW on-line scheduling application!  Some new features:

  • available dates displayed in a calendar format
  • schedule e-waste appointments on-line
  • modify or cancel previously scheduled appointments 

If you are a Johnson County resident and have household hazardous waste or unwanted paint to dropoff at Johnson County's Hazardous Material Collection Facility, we encourage you to use the new on-line scheduler.  Go to Schedule a Dropoff to start NOW! 

This on-line application is for residents only.  Businesses, including schools and churches, are invited to use our business waste program.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

This Saturday, Sept. 26 the Drug Enforcement Agency will host its 10th National Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the event, anyone can properly dispose of unwanted, expired and unused prescription medications at a participating drop-off location. Local law enforcement officials will dispose of the medication to DEA standards. There are 19 collection sites available within Johnson County. Click here to go to the DEA Office of Diversion Control's website, where you can search for the collection site nearest you by zip code or call 1-800-882-9539.

Got e-waste?

Midwest Recycling Center will be collecting electronics waste for recycling in front of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment's office at 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Olathe, KS 66061 on Friday, Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Anything with a cord or battery will be accepted at no charge except tube televisions, which will be assessed a charge of $20 for televisions measuring 27" and smaller and $40 for those larger than 27". For additional details about specific items, visit Midwest Recycling Center's website

Call Environmental Programs Manager Julie Davis at 913-715-6900 if you have specific questions about this electronics recycling event.