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We understand the importance of protecting our planet. Since Johnson County Government created its first sustainability committee in 2004, being mindful of our impact on the environment has become a priority in the construction and maintenance of County buildings. The United States Green Building Council has certified two of our buildings as LEED Platinum and five others as LEED Gold. We’ve expanded our fleet of alternative fuel and Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and made strides towards ambitious waste goals. We also offer our residents many ways to make sustainability part of their lives through The Jo transit system, and recycling opportunities for Household Hazardous Waste, expired medications and unwanted electronics. Together we can make a difference!

Environmental News

Household Hazardous Waste Saturday Event- August 12, 2017 BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will be hosting a Household Hazardous Waste Event on Saturday, August 12th from 8-11:30am at the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste facility. This event is by appointment only, and appointments can be made through our online scheduler. Accepted items include: paints and stains, household cleaners, car products including oil and gasoline, fluorescent and CFL light bulbs, yard chemicals, and much more. For a complete list of accepted items

Tire recycling for JoCo residents on Saturday

Recycle your old, worn or unwanted car, truck or bike tires! Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is hosting a tire recycling event on Saturday, April 8 from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. at our Household Hazardous Waste facility at 5901 Jim Bills Road in Mission. 

This event is for Johnson County residents only and no commercial drop-offs are allowed. Limit seven tires per household. For more information, visit jocogov.org and search "tire recycling," Johnson County Recycles' Facebook page or call Todd Rogers at 913-715-6904.

Sign up for a rain barrel workshop

Rain barrels reduce the amount of stormwater runoff by collecting roof runoff and storing the rainwater for future use. Want to learn about rain barrels and construct your own to take home for free? Sign up to attend an upcoming rain barrel workshop.

Olathe North High School, through a grant from the Johnson County stormwater program, is offering one-hour rain barrel workshops on April 1 and April 15. Each workshop will include an educational presentation by the Geoscience Academy students about stormwater management and the benefit of rain barrels, as well as instruction on and construction of a free rain barrel for each Johnson County homeowner (one per address). The workshops are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, as there is a limit to 25 free rain barrels per class.

April 1

April 15

Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo | April 1

If you want to make conscious choices about your lawn and garden care, the Healthy Yards Expo on Saturday, April 1 is just for you! The environmentally-friendly lawn and garden event highlights many simple and easy practices that can be done to achieve a nice yard while still doing your part to maintain clean water and air and healthy soil in our community. Sponsored by Johnson County K-State Extension, Johnson County Government, and the cities of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee, this free event includes:

  • Educational seminars connecting nature to your backyard
  • Puppet shows for the kids
  • Green vendors
  • Opportunity to talk with representatives from Lenexa, Overland Park, Shawnee, Johnson County and K-State Extension
  • Native plants and tree seedling giveaways
  • Door prizes

Join us from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shawnee Civic Center, located at 13817 Johnson Drive in Shawnee. For complete details visit Johnson County K-State Research and Extension's website.

Can I recycle this?

It's super bowl weekend, which means lots of parties, pizza-ordering and yes . . . trash. It can be tricky to remember what can and can't go in your recycling bin, so the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has put together a handy list of the top 10 most confusing items, published in the most recent issue of JoCo Magazine. Here are some tips that might come in handy this weekend: 

  • Pizza boxes? YES. You can remove greasy spots, cheese and other food contaminates first. If your pizza box is clean and doesn’t contain a large amount of grease, it can be recycled in your curbside bin. If it’s too greasy, simply tear off the top for recycling and trash the rest.
  • Plasticware and paper plates? NO. Contrary to popular belief, plastic silverware and paper plates are not recyclable, even when clean. They are not suitable for recycling because of the odd shape of plasticware and the low quality of plastic and paper materials. Reduce waste at your next event by using durable, reusable plates and silverware instead.
  • Red Solo cups? YES. The forgotten verse of that Toby Keith song: finish your drink, make sure it’s empty and recycle your red Solo cup.
  • K-Cups? NO. K-Cups and other single-serve coffees are growing in popularity. While K-Cups are convenient and come in many flavors, because of their size and material components, they should not be recycled. K-Cups belong in the trash.

View the full list on jocogov.org; print it out and post it on the wall near your recycling bin so everyone in your houshold can be in the know!

2017 Environmental Sanitary Code Fee Increases

Under the 2004 Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code , the Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) is responsible for regulating private sewage treatment systems, swimming pools and spas in the unincorporated area and within the ten municipalities that have adopted the Code.

The Code establishes the authority to assess various user fees to cover program administration and enforcement costs and to increase fees over time as needed.  View the 2017 Fee increase.

Winter freeze brings oak leaf mite itch relief

Oak leaf mites have been plaguing residents for months, but the end might not be in sight, even with a hard freeze.

In some parts of the county the outbreak has been so severe that people have changed their daily routine in an attempt to cope. For weeks, those itching their way through the warm fall months have been hoping and praying for an end to the itch mite bites. 

With a hard freeze, many are hoping for relief. But according to a Kansas State University entomologist, a hard freeze is not always harmful to the mites because they have means of overwintering. What we really need is an extended period of cold weather to lower the soil temperature where the oak leaf itch mites may be located. But a hard freeze followed by two or three days of unusually warm weather? They’re going to come back up. Our only hope is that extended colder temperatures will put an end to our misery. 

According to the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office, it is difficult to predict at what temperature the mites will be killed due to a number of factors. These include how low the temperature falls, how long it stays cold, and how well protected or insulated the mite might be from the cold. But most entomologists suggest that a hard freeze, around 28 degrees or lower, should greatly reduce the oak itch mite population.  

Aside from hoping for the demise of pesky oak leaf itch mites, Johnson County residents should also complete other outdoor steps before a hard freeze, including:

  • Disconnect and drain sprinklers and garden hoses. Best to store them out of the sunlight for the winter so the plastic vinyl doesn’t degrade.
  • Drain and turn off in ground sprinkler systems.
  • Bring indoors and store non-frost proof ceramic or concrete containers and garden art. Remove dirt and store in a dry location.
  • Drain non-frost proof ceramic and concrete bird baths.
  • Disconnect rain barrels and drain. Reconnect downspouts to direct rain water away from foundation.
  • Place container growing plants indoors or in a protected place if you want to protect them from a freeze.
Recycle your lawn by mulch mowing

Ditch the bag! Mulching your leaves can help your lawn and save time. When done properly, mulch mowing your leaves and grass clippings can save you from bagging your yard waste and adds nutrients back into your soil.

Tips for success: 

  • Ditch the bag, mow over your leaves and leave your grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Mow your lawn frequently and with up to one inch of fallen leaves at a time.
  • By mulch mowing during the fall, you can incorporate up to six inches of leaves into your lawn without concern.

For more information and tips, read the related agent's article on Johnson County K-State Research and Extension's website

Health and Environment employees recognized for innovation

Johnson County Governemnt encourages employees to innovate and improve processes through a program called "Project Impact" which recognizes employees who bring their ideas for improvement forward and seem them through implementation. During a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting, three employees from the Department of Health and Environment were presented a Certificate of Recognition from Chairman Eilert. Julie Davis, Kalenna Coleman, and Nolan Kappleman were all recognized for their innovate approach to recycling paint at the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Click here to watch a video that explains how Nolan, Kalenna, and Julie took a program that originally cost the county money to one that now generates revenue.

Free Healthy Yards Expo this Saturday

A free event on Saturday will help you make greener choices for your yard and garden. The Healthy Yards Expo on Saturday, April 2 is a partnership between Johnson County K-State Research and Extension, Johnson County Stormwater Management and the cities of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee. Activities include tips from lawn and gardening experts, door prizes, and even a free soil test. We invite you to click here to learn more about this event.