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Why Kansas City's Marlborough Neighborhood Has City-Issued Trash Bins And You Don't

If you’ve recently driven through Kansas City’s Marlborough neighborhood, which borders from Troost Avenue on the west, Prospect Avenue on the east, and from E. 79th Street to E. 85th Street, you may have noticed that the streets are a little cleaner these days.

That's thanks to Kansas City’s pilot Trash Cart Program, a green infrastructure project where residents are given new covered garbage and recycling bins.

The program rolled out last April in Kansas City’s Marlborough neighborhood as part of the city’s development of green infrastructure projects.

Since the city started the program, resident and President of the Marlborough Community Coalition Brenda Thomas says the area is noticeably much cleaner.

Credit Google Maps
Marlborough neighborhood map.

“It has cut down on the amount of litter that gets out in the streets,” says Thomas. “And really it has cut down on the amount of litter that gets out in the streets. Sometimes people will drag those bags out and birds and dogs may get into them and scatter the stuff all around. But with the trash barrels on wheels…that eliminates that problem. And it keeps it clean.”

Overall, Thomas says she thinks the program is a success based on the feedback she received from residents, who told her the program makes it easier to recycle, and has made the streets cleaner.

“It’s much more convenient than lugging a big bag of trash down to the curb for pickup, and it’s a lot cleaner too.”

Thomas hopes the pilot leads to more efforts to clean up the neighborhood.

“I’m waiting for the next thing, whatever that might be. Anything that’s going to help clean up Marlborough,” she says.

City officials say they do not have immediate plans to expand the Trash Cart Program to other neighborhoods.

“Each of the City’s green infrastructure projects is uniquely designed to maximize the benefit to that particular community. At this time, the City does not have plans to expand the Trash Cart Program beyond the Marlborough neighborhood,” says Special Assistant City Manager Andy Shively.

While there are not immediate plans to implement the Trash Cart Program in other neighborhoods, Shivley says green infrastructure projects which focus on improving water quality are being developed.

He says there is a possibility for other neighborhoods to receive similar assistance in the future if they "make sense for helping to improve water quality in those targeted areas."

Kansas Citians will continue to see infrastructure improve in other ways in neighborhoods across the city, thanks to an $800 million general obligation fund approved by voters on April 4. 

Diane Krauthamer is a digital intern at KCUR 89.3.

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