WARRENSBURG — Following the Johnson County Citizens for Environmental Action meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6, RISE Executive Director Misty Miller spoke with the CEA and members of the public to explain why RISE will soon be ceasing all recycling services.

Miller stated that due to operating costs and a shift in community services, RISE will stop accepting all recyclables effective Friday, Aug. 16, with plans to reassess the program in April of 2020.

“We have to think about how do we help our employees build skills that are very much more inclusive to the community and the jobs that we were doing in recycling weren’t teaching them those skills that they need to be employable in the community,” Miller said.

RISE provides vocational center training, community employment services, community services, residential services and transportation services.

“Over the years we have had to do some adjustments to maintain our recycling program,” Miller said.

Over the past three years, RISE information states it has provided recycling services at an estimated loss of about $25,000.

Johnson County Board of Services Executive Director Melissa Frey was present at the meeting as a member of the SB-40 board.

The JCBS receives tax dollars to help find support, services and funding for those with developmental disabilities, allocating a portion of those funds to RISE.

“Your tax dollars do not go to the recycling,” Miller said, explaining that recycling is among the contracted jobs performed by RISE employees.

Derrick Standley of Missouri Solid Waste Management District F spoke to those in attendance about the local and global shift in how recycling is processed.

“What has happened is that 58 percent of all of our recycling use to go to China,” Standley said. “The process of building (corrugated) mills is underway in this country. There have been a number of mills that have opened here recently.

“We are also going to have some rude awakenings about recycling. We’ve had to wake up to the fact that recycling has really become the number one pollution-causing industry around the globe. It’s not that recycling is bad, we just have to be better about how we do it.”

An article from the Sierra Club magazine, “The US Recycling System Is Garbage” was cited several times by those in attendance. The article outlines the history of the U.S. — China relationship with recycling and the impact of China’s 2017 import ban on foreign garbage and recyclable material.

Miller provided a list of recycling resources to those in attendance, including the Warrensburg City Recycling Center, Heartland Waste Recycling at 12 N.E. County Road V, Henry County Industries in Clinton and Sedalia Recycle Center.

More information about RISE can be found at watchusrise.org.

More information about the Missouri Solid Waste Management District F can be found at moswmd-f.com.

Staff Writer Sara Lawson can be reached by emailing sara.lawson@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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