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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

Community Meeting: Waste and Recycling in Johnson County

Johnson County invites you to join us for a community discussion about waste and recycling. We are updating our Solid Waste Management Plan and public involvement is necessary for this project’s success. The purpose of the Plan is to establish a clear vision for the waste diversion goals, recycling strategies, infrastructure needs, and priorities for the County over the next 25 years. Please join us to share your input as we look forward to hearing from you!

Two ways to provide input:

1. Take our survey online

2. Attend our Open House Community Meeting: Waste and Recycling in Johnson County
Open House - Come anytime between 6-8pm
Wednesday, April 24th
Central Resource Library - Community Room
9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park, KS 66212

All are welcome, no RSVP is necessary. Questions? Contact Brandon Hearn: Brandon.Hearn@jocogov.org or 913-715-6936.

Open burning ban in effect for Johnson County

On April 1st an erroneous press release announced that all open burning in a 16 county region of Eastern Kansas is banned.  This mistakenly included residential burn pits and chimeneas.  This burning ban does not include either of these sources, so long as they are not banned by your local jurisdiction.  Residential burn pits and chimeneas are allowed to be used in April under the regulations set forth by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).  For specific information on the KDHE burn ban, please visit www.ksfire.org.  You can contact Mike Boothe, Environmental Compliance Manager, after April 10th at 913-715-6939. If you need immediate assistance please contact Todd Rogers at 913-715-6904.

Recycle your Holiday

Holiday Lights: You no longer have to throw away your broken and unusable holiday lights, thanks to Southeast Enterprises, who recycled more than 60,000 pounds of holiday lights last year alone. Some locations will accept lights through January 11th; others have an earlier cut-off date. However, Southeast Enterprises’ Kansas City location will accept lights year round. To find a location nearest to you go to www.southeastenterprises.org/kcrecyclelights.

Wrapping Paper: Each year Americans throw away enough wrapping paper to cover 5,787 football fields. Unfortunately most wrapping paper can't be recycled, including all paper that is shiny or metallic looking; the exception being brown parchment paper.  Using a reusable bag, an old magazine, or newspaper instead can be a great alternative to non-recyclable wrapping paper. If you do buy wrapping paper, buy rolls made from recycled paper.

Trees - Real and Fake: Keep your Christmas tree out of the landfill. An artificial tree that it is no longer usable can be recycled as electronic waste at several locations in the KC metro area. Natural trees are collected in several places around Johnson County and will find a second home as a fish habitat or mulch for a park. All decorations should be removed.

Johnson County Park and Recreation locations- December 26th through January 31st

  • Theatre in the Park at Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner Rd
  • ​Heritage Park marina parking lot, 16050 Pflumm Rd
  • Kill Creek Park marina parking lot north side, 11670 Homestead Lane
  • Big Bull Creek Park, 20425 Sunflower Rd

Overland Park locations- December 26th through January 6th

  • Young's Park, 7701 Antioch
  • Indian Creek Recreation Center, 10308 Marty
  • Quivira Park, 11901 Quivira
  • Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 8909 W. 179th Street

 

Celebrate America Recycles Day by Recycling Your Electronics & More

In celebration of America Recycles Day, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, Downtown Overland Park, ProShred, and Secure e-Cycle will be hosting an electronics recycling and paper shredding event on Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Patrons can drop off “anything with a cord” to be properly recycled, as well as paper that will be securely shredded. All electronic items are free except TVs ($20 each) and CRT monitors ($15 each).

The event will be held in the parking lot near the Overland Park Farmers’ Market pavilion – enter and exit from Marty Street, between 79th and 80th Street. As a courtesy, Johnson County staff and volunteers will be there to unload your vehicle.

Household Hazardous Waste 2nd Saturday Collection Event October 13th.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will once again offer 2nd Saturday of the month by appointment only, Household Hazardous Waste collection events. Our next event will take place on Saturday, October 13th from 8-11:30am and are by appointment only. These events are for residential drop-offs only and residents can schedule a drop-off time through our online scheduler. Saturday collection events will occur the 2nd Saturday of the month and will run through October. Electronic waste will not be accepted, however, Secure E-Cycle is located a short distance from the Household Hazardous Waste facility and will be accepting items during the Saturday collection events. Prices for electronic recycling are: TVs under 31" ($25), TVs over 31" ($35), CRT monitors ($10), LCD computer monitors ($5), PC's with data destruction ($5), all other accepted electronics are free. Secure E-Cycle will also accept paper for shredding, prices for secure paper disposal are $25 for the 1st box, and $5 for each additional box. For other electronic recycling options go to RecycleSpot.org to find the locations closest to you.

Keep your Valentine's flowers fresh

The most popular day to give flowers is fast approaching — Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14.

If you’re planning to send or receive flowers, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension offers tips to care for Valentine’s flowers.

Above all else, water is vital. Keep the vase or floral foam soaked with water at all times. Add fresh water daily and use warm water, as this will aid in uptake. 

You can read Extension’s full article on Valentine’s flower care online. The helpful tips include:

  • Provide lots of fresh water
  • Keep ‘em cool
  • Tricks for wilted flowers
  • Care of potted flowers

If you have more questions about caring for Valentine’s Day flowers, contact the garden hotline — staffed by trained volunteers and Extension agents — at 913-715-7050 or garden.help@jocogov.org.

Winter watering: Why it’s important

Fall has been on the dry side. According to the United States Drought Monitor we are experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Remember that plants use water during the winter — just not as much. Winter’s freeze and thaw cycles also remove moisture from the soil. And don't forget about the effects of drying winds.

Bottom line, the soils are currently on the dry side and we know that a plant that is well hydrated will survive winter conditions and be a stronger, more established plant come spring and throughout the rest of summer.

Follow these simple watering tips in the winter

  1. You are free to water any time during the winter as long as the soil is not frozen and temperatures are above freezing when applying. It does not matter if the temps fall below freezing after the application as frozen water in the soil will not harm the plants.
  2. Plants most at risk are young trees and shrubs five years of age or less. Evergreens also suffer as they tend to lose more moisture during winter. A deep thorough soaking should last for a month of more, depending on the moisture patterns.
  3. Don’t forget your lawn. Lawns have shallow roots and can feel the effects. Fall-established lawns especially need moisture to survive the season. A lawn that is well-hydrated over winter will also start to green up earlier in the spring.
  4. Protect your home foundations from cracking by using sprinklers or soaking hoses placed about one to two feet from the foundation. Never fill in cracks with added soil. When it does rain the soils will expand placing additional stress on the foundation.

How much should you water?
As a general rule of thumb, soak the soil at least six to eight inches deep. This holds true for the lawn, flowers and some trees and shrubs. This depth provides moisture to the crowns and a vast majority of the feeder roots. Larger trees should be soaked more deeply.

How long should the water be kept on in order to meet these criteria? It depends on the system applying it and the water pressure. The best way to measure your water output is with the use of a rain gauge. For example, to apply an inch of water using an impact sprinkler in a full circular pattern often takes four hours or more.

How often should you water? A soaking every two to four weeks is normally sufficient. When in doubt, probe the soil using a screw driver or metal rod. When the soil is dry, reapply water according to the above recommendations.

Remember to disconnect the hose from the outside faucet and drain.

by Dennis Patton, horticulture agent, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension

Lineage Logistics Facility at New Century AirCenter

Some questions have been raised about the planned Lineage Logistics cold storage facility at the New Century AirCenter Industrial Park. It will be a warehouse where frozen foods are received, stored and then distributed; it will not manufacture or process any chemicals. The facility will use anhydrous ammonia only as a refrigerant in a closed loop system inside the facility to maintain the necessary level of cold temperatures. Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant in similar facilities that store or process food and beverage products. It also is widely used in agriculture for growing farm crops. See FAQs for more information on this site.

‘Hot’ tips for summer lawn care

Summer arrived on June 21. As weather patterns change day-to-day, Johnson County Research and Extension offers steps to help your lawn survive an onslaught of summer heat.

Mow high

First, check your mowing height. Cool season grasses such as bluegrass and tall fescue should be mowed high during warm periods. The recommendation is no lower than 3 inches. Mowing high decreases heat and drought stress by increasing the natural defense mechanism. Longer leaf blades provide a shading of the soil helping to reduce the soil temperature and moisture loss. These conditions favor root growth which is vital for increased summer tolerances.

Mowing higher reduces the amount of water used by the plant, and the grass stays green longer. In fact, if you do not believe this is beneficial, do your own test. Mow a strip at 2 inches and another area at 3 inches. Wait for the first signs of stress to appear and see which wilts first. You will be amazed how this works and it is so easy.

Keep the mower blade sharp

In addition to the proper mowing height, make sure the blade is sharp. A dull blade rips the grass blade resulting in increased moisture loss and excess browning to the grass leaf. A dull cut often leaves the grass with a whitish appearance to the lawn. Sharpen or replace the lawn mower blade on a regular basis as a part of regular overall turf and mower maintenance.

Don't fertilize in summer

Lastly, for summer maintenance, avoid the use of fertilizers. Fertilizing cool season grass during the summer greatly increases the lawn’s need for moisture and decreases its adaptability to high temperatures.

The best time to fertilize bluegrass and tall fescue is in the fall months, September and November. In fact, spring applications should be avoided unless the lawn will be well watered during the summer months. Spring fertilization provides little benefit to the grass plant except to make the grass green, often resulting in lush growth. This lush growth increases mowing requirements.

Learn more at the extension office’s website.

August is Water Quality Awareness Month

August in Kansas brings to mind thoughts of the “dog days of summer” when people look to find relief from the heat with a refreshing glass of ice water or cooling off by boating and swimming in a nearby lake. August is also National Water Quality Awareness Month, which is a time to examine our actions to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect our most precious resource throughout the year.

Actions we take every day have the potential to negatively impact water quality.

Make these water-friendly choices to do your part:

  • Never litter.
  • Pick up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Take used oil, leftover paint and other household chemicals to Household Hazardous Waste collection sites.
  • Fertilize according soil test results and only use what your lawn needs. Soil tests are free for Johnson County residents (limited quantity)!
  • Mulch or bag grass clippings and leaves — never blow them into the street or storm drains.
  • Never flush prescription drugs; instead, find a drug take-back location for proper disposal. 

If you are unsure where to take items to be recycled, visit RecycleSpot.org, a local, comprehensive recycling resource. 

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