Every five years, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment partners with the Solid Waste Management Committee to complete a solid waste management plan (SWMP) as required by Kansas law. This plan allows for the long-term management of solid waste in Johnson County, and insures adequate and sustainable options for dealing with waste. County officials sought feedback from residents, businesses and industry professionals as they developed this year’s plan.
Highlights of the 2019 Solid Waste Management Plan include a focus on: expanding recycling to businesses and multi-family housing, reducing contamination in recycling through education efforts, and reducing food, construction and demolition waste. The 2019 plan also looks at the need for a new Household Hazardous Waste collection facility, and the potential to expand food waste composting operations within Johnson County.
To better understand what Johnson County businesses and residents are throwing away, recycling and composting, the county conducts a waste study every few years. The most recent study, completed in 2015, showed a growing amount of food waste, plastics, and construction and demolition waste, and a decrease in yard waste and paper.
Innovations from previous Solid Waste Management Plans have led to a reduction in waste by expanding recycling to all single-family homes, implementing yard waste restrictions that greatly reduced the amount of yard waste going into the Johnson County landfill and developing a business assistance program. Through these efforts we have seen an increase in the diversion rate – the percentage of what is not going to the landfill – from 21% to 38%.