Thursday, February 10, 2011

As city looks to go greener (Lexington?), county plans improvements to recycling service

By Colin Walsh
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

There is a growing demand in Midway for a more comprehensive recycling program. And as city council members prepare to explore different options, Woodford County is planning improvements to its service.

Recycling service in Midway is limited to products the county recycling center in Versailles can accept, which currently excludes glass and fiberboard (i.e. cereal boxes, beer cartons, paper plates etc.). Citizens want a more comprehensive service, Council Member Joy Arnold said.

“We want to be as green as possible,” Arnold said. “I’ll speak for myself, I even stopped putting out recycling (in Midway), I collect it all and take it to Lexington. . . . If I take my cardboard and glass there, I might as well take it all.”

Arnold and the rest of the council are taking a trip to the Lexington recycling center on Manchester Street this Friday to see how it operates. The council and the community’s desire for a better program prompted the trip.

“Sadly, I’ve been aware of people who have stopped recycling cardboard and glass altogether,” Arnold said. “Our dumps don’t need that.”

Meanwhile, the Woodford County recently received a grant from the state for a new horizontal baler that will allow the Versailles center to take fiberboard, hopefully by early March – something that doesn't appear to be common knowledge in Midway, perhaps due to lack of communication between the city and county.

County recycling director Wade Johnson said of Midway's search for alternatives, “The first thing I heard about the situation in Midway was when I read it in the paper,” The Woodford Sun. “Whatever reason, it’s their own reason and I’m not privy to any of the meetings or how they came to this conclusion.”

Johnson also said that the reason that the county can’t take glass is very simple: “We have to sort it by one of three colors, and after you sort it out you have to pay labor costs and the market is currently so flooded and the value (of glass) is so marked down that, instead of making any money, you can’t even cover the labor costs. Essentially you pay for it twice. (In my opinion) it’s not a good stewardship of taxpayers’ dollars.”

But for Johnson and the county government, there don’t seem to be any hard feelings if Midway goes to Lexington. “We will miss having their product but it certainly will won’t put us in any sort of financial bind,” he said. “We really haven’t pursued (accepting glass) for the aforementioned reasons.”

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