Madison County will suspend paper recyclables after the city of Lexington announced that it will no longer recycle paper products at its facility as of May 14, which is where both Madison County and Berea send their recyclables to be processed.
This will include office paper, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, paper rolls and other paper based products, which now will be tossed into the garbage.
Many cities across the country are suspending their recycling operations all together after China upped its standards for the cleanliness of recycling materials it would buy, upending the market for recycled products, according to the Herald Leader.
The Lexington facility is one that serves most of the central Kentucky region, also facilitating Berea, Frankfort, Franklin County, Georgetown, Harrison County, Jessamine County, Madison County, Nicholasville, Paris, Versailles, Winchester and Woodford County.
“We are now in the kind of market where we are changing our dynamics,” Madison County Deputy Judge/Executive Colleen Chaney said. “We are going to continue recycling but we will no longer be picking up paper.”
The county offers recycling to 60 subdivisions, which were pre-determined by a county recycling pilot program that began in March of 2009. They practice single stream recycling, where recyclables are collected, compacted in a truck and taken to the recycling center in Lexington.
Berea, who also used the facility to drop of their recyclables, offers a bundled agreement with both recycling and trash disposal in which Berea residents pay for both services with one fee.
On Thursday, Berea City Administrator Randy Stone said that he had spoken with Waste Connections, the company handling the city's waste disposal, and that the city would not be releasing a statement to whether or not they would continue to pick up paper recycling until the upcoming Berea Council meeting on Tuesday.
"(The Lexington facility) has stopped taking paper and it will greatly impact what we will do," Stone said.
In Richmond, the recycling department is its own department of city government, and the city has trash collected through a franchise agreement with Advanced Disposal, according to City Manager Rob Minerich. City recycling trucks run on weekly routes in certain areas to pick up bins that are then taken to the Richmond/Madison Recycling Center located on Recycle Drive in Richmond, where everything is sorted and sold, he said.
Chaney said that until the Lexington facility determines to make the suspension permanent or resume collecting paper, the county will not be collecting paper “for the foreseeable future.”
“There is no quick solution, but we are looking at ways to fix it,” Chaney said.
Looking forward, Chaney said that the county has considered both sending the materials to another location for processing, or partnering with the city of Richmond to continue accepting paper.
“We have talked with the Richmond recycling department but we have separate recycling and the way we collect ours is completely different, so we don’t know that it is something that we can do,” Chaney said.
In regards to taking transporting the paper elsewhere for recycling, Chaney said they have discussed that option also.
“How long do you drive for something that has no market,” she asked.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.