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Yard Waste & Composting

Recycle your Lawn

Leave it all on the lawn. Not only do grass clippings and leaves help retain moisture, they also return up to 25% of the nutrients back into the soil. University research recommends that you mulch your leaves and grass clippings using a mulching mower. By "grass-cycling" properly your lawn will look great and you can save money on fertilizing.

  • Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends mowing right over leaves with a mulching mower. Proper mulch mowing of leaves and grass clippings can save you time and help your lawn.
  • Mow your lawn frequently and with up to one inch of fallen leaves at a time. The finely chopped leaves filter into the soil and breakdown over the winter into compost.
  • Through mulch mowing in the fall, you can incorporate up to six inches of leaves into your lawn without concern.
  • Dumping leaves in the storm drains or near streams can block the flow of water, cause flooding, and contribute to water quality problems. It is illegal to put anything other than clean rainwater down a storm drain. 

Yard Waste Drop-Off Locations

Drop off your yard waste at these compositing facilities. No plastic bags allowed. See their websites for more specific details.

Suburban Lawn and Garden
139th and Wyandotte, Kansas City, MO
(816) 941-2438

Deffenbaugh Industries*
I-435 and Holiday Drive, Shawnee, KS
(913) 631-3300

*Deffenbaugh has a permitted composting facility for yard waste within the property of the landfill and yard waste must be separate from trash and in compostable bags.

Missouri Organic Recycling
2701 Roe Lane, Kansas City, KS (I-35 and Roe)
(816) 483-0908
Hours: 9-5pm Monday-Saturday

City of Olathe Composting (FOR OLATHE RESIDENTS ONLY)
127th and Hedge Lane, Olathe, KS
(913) 971-9311


Compost in your backyard! Turn your grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps into usable compost. For more great tips and videos check out Johnson County K-State Research and Extension.

Composting Collection Options

Compost Collective KC

Food Cycle KC

KC Can Compost- provide food waste collection for businesses and other commercial entities

Curbside Pickup

Contract with your waste hauler to collect yard waste curbside for composting. View a list of licensed residential haulers.

More Info

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension are your expert resource for lawn and garden information. They can provide fact sheets, videos, and a gardening hotline to help you solve all your lawn and garden challenges.

Recycling Centers

Note: Due to concerns about COVID-19 some of these locations may be temporarily closed. We recommend calling before dropping off.

There are more ways to recycle than just through a curbside collection program. You can take your materials to a community recycling drop-off center.

Overland Park Recycling Drop-off Center
11921 Hardy (Just off 119th between Metcalf and Antioch)

Olathe Public Works Facility Drop-off Center
1100 Hedge Lane (at the Olathe Composting Facility)
Monday through Saturday 8am-4pm

East Olathe Recycling Drop-off - ONLY CARDBOARD AND GLASS
2000 E. Santa Fe in the At Home parking lot

West Olathe Recycling Drop-off - ONLY CARDBOARD AND GLASS
Kansas Ave. and Loula St.

Bridging the Gap Recycling Centers
Three recycling centers located in Kansas City, MO (4707 Deramus Avenue, 5200 E. Red Bridge Rd., 5601 NE Pleasant Valley Rd.)

Deffenbaugh Recycling Drop-off Center
I-435 and Holiday Drive at the Landfill entrance


recycle spot logoThe Mid-America Regional Council has a searchable database on their website for finding exactly where to take specific items. This site is for residents, businesses, schools, and contractors. It is searchable by material or city or county. It covers the Kansas City metropolitan area, both sides of the state line.  Visit RecycleSpot


Recycling in your City

Bonner Springs
Mission Hills
Mission Woods
Overland Park
Prairie Village
Roeland Park
Spring Hill


Recycling at Work

Commercial Assistance and Waste Diversion Consulting Services 

Johnson County is committed to supporting and promoting waste diversion programs such as reduction, recycling, composting, etc. Whether you are establishing a new program, enhancing an existing one, incorporating composting, or even striving for Zero Waste, we are here to help you through the process. Dozens of our commercial partners are recycling and diverting more waste than ever, while realizing the benefits associated with having the guidance and resources provided by Johnson County.

How It Works

  1. Our expert staff provide free waste assessments to any business or organization within Johnson County.
  2. Staff provide you with recommendations and are available to assist with the implementation. We can assist in designing the program, including communications, training staff, as well as provide easy-to-follow signage.

We are ready to help you meet your goals! Fill out our simple online form and one of our consultants will be in touch with you. 

Commercial Assistance Program - Up to $500 in supplies

Any commercial property is eligible to receive up to $500 worth of materials to support a waste diversion project based. Each commercial partner must complete a waste assessment by county staff prior to be eligible for financial assistance. Partners will submit an application and each request will be evaluated and approved by staff. Approved assistance will be given on a first come, first serve basis to partners based upon identified needs and recommendations by staff. SIGN UP NOW!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please email Trent Thompson or call 913-715-6938.

Recycling 101

Welcome to your source for what can and cannot go in your recycling bin.

Ditch the Bag

bagged recyclables go to the landfill

You think you’re recycling right, but when you bag your recyclables or put plastic bags and product wrap into your recycle bin - they could end up in the landfill. Why? Plastic bags get caught in the machinery at the recycling facility and lower the value of other recyclables.

Ensure that your recycling efforts don’t go to waste by following these three simple steps.

  1. Ditch the bag - plastic bags and wraps don’t belong in your curbside recycle bins.
  2. Free your recycling – keep your items loose in the bin, bagged recycling could end up in the landfill.   
  3. Recycle at other locations – take your clean bags and wraps to area grocery stores that accept these items.

Look below for a list of accepted items for curbside pickup. If it’s not on this list, place it in the trash or recycle the items at a participating store. 

Plastic Film Recycling Options

types of plastic film which are also listed in the paragraph text

Plastic film is soft, flexible polyethylene packaging used for many commonly used products. Plastic films, such as air pillows, grocery and retail bags, case wrap, newspaper bags, bread bags, food storage bags, and paper product packaging, are not accepted in your curbside recycle bin, however, they can be recycled at several area grocery stores.

To recycle your plastic film, first make sure that it is clean, dry, and free of food waste, receipts, and in the case of dry cleaning bags, clothes hangers. Then, take it to one of several drop-off locations around Kansas City including several grocery stores such as Hy-Vee, Walmart, and Target. Once collected these items are processed into composite lumber or small pellets, which can be made into new bags, pallets, and more.

Accepted Items

  • Retail, carryout, produce, newspaper, bread, and dry cleaning bags (clean & dry)
  • Zip-top food storage bags (clean & dry)
  • Plastic shipping envelopes (remove labels), air pillows (deflate)
  • Product wrap on cases or water bottles, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, etc.
  • Furniture and electronic wrap
  • Plastic cereal box liners (but not if it tears like paper, clean & dry)


  • Degradable/compostable bags or film packaging
  • Pre-washed salad mix bags
  • Frozen food bags
  • Candy bar wrappers
  • Chip bags
  • Six-pack rings

For a complete list of check out: Plastic Film Recycling or RecycleSpot.

2018 Recycling Waste Sort 

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment partnered with Waste Management and Bridging The Gap to conduct an in-depth sort at the recycling facility in November 2018. The goal of the sort was to look at what materials residents are putting in their recycling bins that can and cannot be recycled. The results revealed that around 26% of what residents are putting in their recycling bin is actually not recyclable curbside. 2019 Recycling Waste Sort Report.

What Can & Cannot Go in my Recycle Bin and How Can I Recycle More?

Do you have questions? Contact Us and we will do our best to answer them.

Additional Resources: RecycleSpot.org have developed a comprehensive printable list of what can and can't go in your curbside recycle bin.

Item Accepted in your curbside recycle bin More Info

Plastic Bottles & Containersplastic bottles and containers


Recycle empty plastics such as bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs. Keep your plastic bottle caps on, they can be recycled too. Do NOT put needles or syringes in your recycling.

Paper, Flattened Cardboard
& Paperboard
paper and cardboard


Recycle paper, newspapers, junk mail, and magazines. Flatten and recycle all cardboard and paperboard. Paper should be dry and free of food waste. No receipts.

Food & Beverage Cansfood and beverage cans


Recycle all empty and clean tin, aluminum, and steel cans.




Empty cartons are now accepted in your curbside recycle bin. Juice pouches are not accepted at this time. To find out more information on carton recycling in your area check out the Carton Council.

Aluminum Foilaluminum foil

Yes, as long as it is clean

Aluminum foil that is clean and free of food waste can be recycled in your curbside recycle bin or at certain community recycling centers. Ball up your aluminum foil so it doesn't get confused for paper in the recycling process.

Pizza boxes
(without food and grease)
pizza box

Yes, if there is no grease or food

Clean pizza boxes without food or grease are accepted in your curbside recycle bin. If your pizza box has food waste on it tear off the top for recycling and throw the rest in the trash.

Egg cartonsegg carton

Yes, only plastic & paper egg cartons

Plastic and paper egg cartons that are clean can be recycled in your curbside recycling bin. Styrofoam egg cartons are not recyclable and need to be disposed of in the trash.


glass bottles

No, but they can be recycled

Glass bottles and jars are not accepted in your curbside recycle bin with the exception of Honey Creek Disposal customers only. However, there are many options for recycling your glass. Ripple Glass operates the purple community recycle bins seen throughout Kansas City. There are also several companies that provide curbside glass pickup, including: Atlas Glass, KC Curbside Glass, and Glass Bandit.

Plastic bags

plastic bags

No, but they can be recycled

Plastic bags, food storage bags, newspaper and dry cleaning bags, and product wraps are not accepted in your curbside recycling bin. However, they are recyclable and can be returned to several area grocery stores. For more info on recycling options in your area go to Plastic Film Recycling.org

Packing materials, bubble wrap,
and packing peanutsbubble wrap and packing peanuts

No, but they can be recycled

Packing materials, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts are not accepted in your curbside recycling bin but they are recyclable. Several area stores will accept these items if they are usable. For those options check out Recycle Spot.

Shredded papershredded paper

No, but it can be recycled

Shredded paper is not accepted in your curbside recycling bin, because it can blow around and is not easily processed in a recycling facility. However, you can recycle shredded paper with a number of area businesses who provided shredded paper disposal. For these options check out Recycle Spot.



No, but they can be recycled

If the mattress is still usable donate it to Sleepyhead Beds, they provide usable mattresses to kids and families who are in need. If your mattress is no longer usable, recycle it with Avenue of Life, who use recycling to create jobs for individuals with barriers to employment.

outdated electronics

No, but they can be recycled

Electronics should not be put in the trash; there are several options available for recycling your old electronics. RecycleSpot is a great resource for finding the closest location to recycle near you.

Textiles and clothespile of clothing

No, but they can be recycled

While not accepted in your curbside recycle bin, textiles and clothes can still be recycled. If these items can't be donated at any number of locations including Goodwill. For locations where you can recycle unusable textiles near you, check out Recycle Spot.

Plastic utensils, plates,
and straws

plasatic knife fork and spoon



Plastic utensils, plates, and straws are not accepted in your curbside recycling bin. These items are made of a low-grade plastic and belong in the trash after use. Compostable utensils and cups can be composted through composting operations such as Missouri Organic Recycling but they do not decompose in backyard compost bins.

Food wrappersfood wrappers


Food wrappers such as chip bags, candy wrappers, ketchup packets, etc. are not recyclable in your curbside recycling bin and belong in the trash. These items are often made of a combination of materials which make it difficult to separate for recycling.

Single serve coffee cups
and plastic lids

paper coffee cup


Paper coffee cups often have a plastic or waxed coating that does not break down during the recycling process at paper mills. The plastic lids used on these type of coffee cups are also not recyclable in your curbside bin, even though they have a recycling symbol on them.



K-cups and other similar single serve cups are not recyclable due to the combination of materials they are made from. These items should be disposed of in the trash.

Paper napkins, towels
and tissues
paper towels


Paper towels, napkins, and tissues are not accepted in your curbside recycle bin and belong in the trash. Consider using cloth napkins and towels for a waste-free alternative.

Paper plates and cups
paper plates


Paper plates and cups are coated in a plastic or wax material that will not break down during the recycling process, and are not accepted in your curbside recycling bin. Consider using reusable plates and cups as a waste-free option.


JoCoRecycles: Recycling and Waste Reduction

frogRecycling is one of the easiest ways we can protect our environment. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump to put your recycling tub at the curb or take materials to a drop-off center. In Johnson County, we have worked very hard to increase our recycling rate from 23% to around the national recycling rate of 34%. But there is still a lot of work to do!! Challenge yourself, your neighbors, family and co-workers to beat the national recycling rate and make Johnson County a National leader in recycling and waste reduction.


There are many multi-housing complexes, such as apartments, condominiums, and dormitories, that have a recycling program in place. If your complex is not one of those, please consider starting a campaign to bring convenient recycling to you and your neighbors or tenants.

There could be viable reasons why your complex doesn't already have a program. Space for recycle bins could be hard to find and access for trucks picking up the recyclables might be difficult.  Getting other people to use the program can also be time-consuming and frustrating. However, the benefits of  a recycling program can provide motivation to overcome these obstacles.

Here are some tips to help you start a successful recycling program.

Get Support

Ask your neighbors or tenants if recycling is important to them. Enlist everyone that responds positively into your campaign for help. While it is true that one person can make a difference, numbers can make the job easier.

Figure the Cost Benefits

Money is always a huge motivator. You can use that to your advantage. Removing recyclable items from the trash means less trash and fewer pickups. Look up your garbage and recycling rates and talk to your waste management or recycling company about how much money a recycling program could save your complex. A good place to start is a co-mingled program for multi-housing complexes. Management will be more likely to invest in the upfront costs, such as enlarging trash enclosures, posting additional signage, and dedicating staff time for tenant education, if they can see the savings in the long run.

Audit your Waste

Coming up with the cost savings is more precise if you can do an assessment of your complex's waste stream, which is the total amount of trash being thrown away and how much of it can be recycled.  Many recycling partners can aid customers in finding the maximum value  from their recycling streams.

Spread the Word

Once the recycling program is in place, help educate other residents. Use colorful posters to announce the new program. Distribute brochures describing how to separate recyclables from real trash and make sure everyone receives one. Post signs that remind residents to recycle.  Using humor and/or listing statistics can help draw attention to the signs and make people feel good about recycling. Place labeled bins in convenient areas, such as the mail area and the laundry room. Make sure the trash bins and the recycle bins are two different colors so that their purpose is clear.

Please contact us if you need any assistance.


In the Classroom

Trashology 101: Waste Reduction for Grades 3-5

Teacher holding frog

The Health and Environment Department has created an educational curriculum on waste management called Trashology 101. The new curriculum is targeted to students in grades 3-5 (ages 8-11) and their teachers, families, youth-serving organizations such as scout groups, recreational clubs, and faith-based organizations.

Through Trashology 101, young people will learn how they are connected to the environment, how solid waste management impacts the environment, and how they can personally make a positive impact in their school, home and community.

To request a copy of the Trashology 101 curriculum click here 

Trash Talk and Recycling Road Show Presentations

Is your group or club ready to jump into recycling and learn more about reducing waste? The Environmental Division staff are available to give presentations on the exciting world of waste, recycling and composting. We can talk to your city, community group, church, classroom, neighborhood association, business green team, or any other type of group. Keep in mind you need to allow for at least 20 - 60 minutes for our talk. Contact Brandon Hearn at 913-715-6936 to schedule a presentation.

Commercial Assistance Program- Up to $500 in supplies

Schools are eligible for FREE waste consulting services, along with assistance of up to $500 in supplies to support a diversion program including but not limited to reduction, recycling, and composting. Our staff have worked with many schools to start programs from scratch, or expand on current efforts. We have a variety of resources and lessons learned from other schools that can be shared with you.

Each school must complete a waste assessment by Johnson County staff prior to requesting assistance. Partners will submit an application and each request will be evaluated and approved by staff. Approved assistance will be given on a first come, first serve basis to partners based upon identified needs and recommendations by staff. SIGN UP NOW!

If you would like more information, please email Trent Thompson or call 913-715-6938

Kansas Green Schools

The Kansas Green Schools Program provides educational opportunities for preK-12 schools that increase awareness and understanding of environmental interrelationships that impact public health and our society, and that promote responsible environmental stewardship practices.

Their goal is to foster an appreciation and understanding of air and water quality, climate change, energy, reduction and recycling of solid waste, and wildlife habitat.

Grants are available annually for green projects.

Electronic Recycling



Please Note: Our Household Hazardous Waste facility no longer accepts electronic waste. Instead please check out one of the locations listed below:


Electronic Recycling Drop-Off Locations

Secure e-Cycle recycles and accepts any item with a cord except for items that contain Freon, and large appliance including deep freezers, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers. For a complete list of accepted items

The City of Olathe accepts electronic waste free of charge to Olathe residents only at their Household Hazardous Waste Facility. By appointment only.

Other businesses that accept electronic waste:

MRC Recycling
MRC Recycling is a fully certified electronic waste recycler. They accept residential drop-offs at their Kansas City and Independence locations. Fees apply for certain items. 

Synetic Technologies
Located in North Kansas City, MO. Fees apply for certain items.

Best Buy
Best Buy offers an electronic and appliance Trade-In and Recycling program. This program is available at each retail location and has been extended with a home haul service for large appliances and TV's. Fees apply for certain items.

Customers can recycle e–waste by simply bringing their used electronics to any U.S. Staples store. All brands are accepted, regardless of whether or not the equipment was purchased at Staples. A recycling fee of $10 per piece of large equipment is charged to cover recycling costs. CRT computer monitors are accepted for free. Smaller computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and speakers are accepted at no charge.Televisions are NOT accepted.

RecycleSpot is an easy-to-use, comprehensive list of recycling and reuse services, including those that accept electronics and electronic media, in Greater Kansas City.

Electronic Waste Resources

Sustainable Management of Electronics- EPA

National Center for Electronics Recycling

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