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Full paper recycling returns to Lexington after three year hiatus

Karyn Czar

After a $4.2M upgrade Mayor Linda Gorton says the city will again accept all manner of paper recycling. Karyn Czar was there for the big announcement

Paper recycling is back at Lexington curbsides, Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Starting today, paper will once again be accepted in curbside recycle carts and mixed recycling dumpsters. In another step forward, cartons, such as broth boxes, milk cartons and juice boxes, can now be recycled.

“We’ve missed the convenience of being able to recycle paper curbside,” Gorton said. “Now the machinery at the Lexington Recycle Center has undergone a $4.2 million upgrade, and we’re ready to go.”

The new equipment and upgrades to existing devices will allow the Recycling Center to:

  • Sort paper collected curbside more effectively, and produce better quality paper.
  • Increase the capacity of the center to produce higher quality recyclables to sell.
  • Use optical sensors to better sort plastics.
  • Sort out glass earlier in the process to reduce equipment damage from broken glass.
  • Carry material more efficiently thanks to a new conveyor belt layout. 

In addition to the city’s investment in the improved equipment, the Carton Council awarded the city a grant that allows the city to recycle cartons.

The city will continue to pick up paper recyclables at the seven yellow bins scattered around Lexington. The paper-only program will be evaluated after several months to determine whether it is still adding value to the city’s overall recycling efforts. Since January 2021 Lexington has collected more than 6,154 tons of “clean” paper from the yellow bins, which is more than 324 semi-tractor trailer loads.

The Recycle Center now accepts aluminum and steel cans, tins and lids; #1 and #2 plastic bottles, jars and jugs (caps on); paper; cartons (caps on); glass bottles and jars; cardboard; and paperboard. Materials put in recycle carts and dumpsters should be clean, dry and loose. Recyclable materials should never be bagged.

A downloadable flyer of acceptable materials is available at lexingtonky.gov/recycle.

The Lexington Recycle Center serves communities throughout Central Kentucky. It is important that people who recycle in Lexington and in partnering communities recycle right. Recycling is local. Unwanted materials can harm equipment and put employees at risk. For more information, visit lexingtonky.gov/Recycle.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.