EllieAna Hale
Community Engagement Intern & Reporter and
Michael Bushnell

On Feb. 1, 2024 the KCMO City Council passed the ordinance (#240093) that will allow the allocation of funds for trash cart distribution to eligible households in Kansas City receiving trash collection services. 

The City Council is currently in the process of finalizing plans to procure the necessary equipment and establish a deployment schedule. The announcement comes a little less than a year after the city rolled out their new recycling cart program to residents, deploying 162,000, 64-gallon, rolling recycling bins to qualified residences. 

Currently, under a new pilot program, 12,000 residences in twelve Kansas City neighborhoods have the new trash carts. 

As part of the first pilot program orchestrated by previous Mayor Sly James, Columbus Park resident Kate Barsotti has found a balance between the pros and cons of the trash carts. 

“I think they’re fantastic,” Barsotti said. “When you have bags on the street, they get torn apart by dogs or other animals overnight and trash goes everywhere. One complaint is that they used to pick up in our alleys and they sometimes don’t, which means carts are on the sidewalks and they don’t look attractive. Passersby put in garbage or dog waste that won’t get picked up out of the cart. That can be a little frustrating. On balance, however, we like them.”

In comparison to the semi-automated cart collection system currently used in which a city trash truck is staffed by three people that can service 900-1,100 houses per route/day,  the new automated system will have a truck staffed by one employee who can service 800-1,000 homes per route/day.  

The trash carts will be separated into two categories; a blue cart with a gray lid for trash and a blue cart with a yellow lid for recycling. During pick up cycles, all trash inside the cart will need to be bagged and lids must be completely closed. 

According to city sources, the new system would reduce illegal dumping by allowing more trash to be picked up per residence. Each trash bin is designed to hold up to 240 pounds of trash. Additionally, the carts will increase collection effectiveness thus improving service delivery and reducing employee injury and staff turnover. The new carts will also protect against animals tearing open exposed bags. 

Deployment of trash carts to all neighborhoods is expected to begin May 2024 and to be completed by October 2024.