New KCMO trash carts and recycling guidance will help reduce unintended litter and recycling contamination

On May 1, The City of Kansas City, Missouri, began rolling out trash carts in the first of five delivery phases. These carts will allow for more trash to be disposed of each week, with the carts helping contain unintentional trash spillage onto city streets and beyond. The carts will also allow for automated cart tipping as a form of trash truck collection without the need for crew-assisted emptying. This automated collection method will, at first, be employed during extreme weather conditions.

As part of this rollout, the City has moved away from its two-bag limit for residents, and they instead are allowed to place as many bags of trash in the cart as long as it can fit with the trash cart lid closed and the overall weight is under 250 pounds. All trash must be contained to plastic trash bags and cannot be loose within the cart! Residents will not be able to opt out of trash cart use unless they apply for Assistance Stop under the Americans with Disabilities Act (contact 311 to apply).

Given the recent changes to the acceptance of certain plastics from regional Materials Recovery Facilities (recyclers), there are items previously recyclable that you will want to instead throw away with your trash, Making sure the right materials get into the right cart will ensure our region is recycling better and more efficiently! The trash carts will also help with unintentional contamination of your neighborhood’s ground and watershed caused by unintentional leaks, spills, curious wildlife and the elements. Remember, if it ends up on the ground — it ends up in our water!

For more information, check out KCMO’s trash cart FAQ here >>

Confused about the plastic recycling changes?

We know recycling is confusing, especially when it comes to plastics. The new Recycle Plastics Better flyer is designed to clear up that confusion and provide clear information about what types of plastics are recyclable and where to recycle them in the Kansas City region.
Three general types of plastics regularly enter our homes: containers, film, and Styrofoam™. Each type is recyclable through different means. Plastic containers such as bottles, tubs and jars are recyclable in your curbside recycling bin and at area recycling centers. Films that stretch when you put your finger through them, like retail shopping bags and plastic shipping envelopes, are recyclable at many local grocery stores and big box stores. Styrofoam™ that comes with new appliances, furniture or electronics is recyclable at two different businesses in the metro area.
Unfortunately, for every type of plastic that is recyclable, many are not. This is due mainly to the low value of the material combined with heavy food contamination. Clamshells, takeout boxes, and Styrofoam™ food/beverage containers are just a few materials listed in the “NO” section of the flier. These items get disposed of in your trash. So save yourself time and keep the recycling stream free of contaminants!
For more information about what can be recycled in the Kansas City area, visit