January 22, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Issues Report on Waste Reduction Practices in Kansas

Assessment conducted according to HB 2249

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has prepared and submitted a report to the Kansas Legislature on the adequacy of current waste reduction practices, as required by the passage of House Bill 2249 in 2013. The report concludes that Kansans have steadily reduced the amount of municipal solid waste disposed of in landfills over the past two decades. Additional recommendations for state regulation related to composting and recycling are not currently necessary.

“Local planners and government officials have the flexibility to choose waste reduction practices that best meet their needs based upon available resources, waste generation patterns, and public preferences,” said Bill Bider, director of KDHE’s Bureau of Waste Management. “The recycling rate and per capita municipal solid waste disposal rate have steadily improved each year over the past decade.”

KDHE has identified ongoing trends in the report that indicate more improvements are projected based upon recent decisions by cities and counties to implement new curbside collection programs for recyclables. The recycling rate in Kansas increased from 17.9 percent in 2005 to its current rate of approximately 34 percent, and the daily disposal rate per person has dropped by 24 percent to 4.2 pounds per day per person over the same time period. The report also finds that composting of organic wastes such as yard waste, food waste from grocery stores, and beef packing plant waste has also steadily increased over the past 20 years.

The report also provides detailed information on landfills in the state and their existing permitted capacities. There are 52 municipal solid waste landfills with enough total capacity to handle Kansas’ projected municipal solid waste generation for approximately 40 years. While this estimate varies by location, none of the locations across the state are facing any landfill capacity concerns in the near future.

The study was conducted over a period of 7 months from June to December 2013, during which KDHE collected input through an online public survey with 616 respondents and held numerous meetings and phone conversations with a wide variety of stakeholders and interested parties. The public survey results demonstrated a high level of public interest in waste reduction and a desire for additional guidelines to improve practices.

“Based on many factors, including current recycling and composting practices, ample landfill capacities, overall public opinion and projected benefits, KDHE recommends no additional legislation,” said KDHE Secretary Robert Moser, MD. 

KDHE recommends another review of all available information after two years, when the state Solid Waste Management Plan will be updated.

Access the Adequacy of Waste Reduction Practices report to the 2014 Legislature or download Kansas’ solid waste management plan by clicking the links below:

Adequacy of Waste Reduction Practices Report |
Solid Waste Management Plan