By Charlotte Underwood / Staff writer
The city of London hopes to expand its recycling program to include curbside collections, according to London Mayor Troy Rudder.
According to Rudder, the plan to expand to curbside collections is a result of an increase in the city’s tipping fees paid to the landfill when dumping garbage.
According to Public Works Administrative Assistant Scott Moore, the tipping fees increased around July of last year from $22.50 a ton to $38 a ton.
Rudder said the “planned” expansion was all about trying to save the city some money. Though curbside collection is in the future, it is still very much in the planning stages, according to Moore, who said equipment would have to be bought first before the expansion would take place.
“It is in the planning process, but it won’t happen overnight; it is still very much a work in progress,” Moore said.
“It would be a good thing for the city; the more weight we are hauling to the landfill, the more it gets into the city’s pockets,” Rudder said, adding that the city had also recently been notified that London had received a grant from the Kentucky Division of Waste Management Recycling Program for a machine that will grind down glass bottles to pea-size gravel or even sand. The grant was for $26,500 and will include purchase of the used glass grinder from Lexington, setup of the machine as well as several extra parts for updating purposes, according to Moore. The glass grinder will take glass bottles up to a gallon size and grind and tumble them down so there are no sharp edges. The gravel or sand that is left can then be used in city construction projects such as sidewalks, asphalt, concrete work and even landscaping. Anywhere that the city would have a need of pea-sized gravel or sand, the glass can be used, which will save the city money, according to Rudder.
“The machine will take that kind of glass and make it useful, right now, the only thing we can do legally is put it in a fill,” Rudder said.
Rudder also said the city hopes to double the storage size of the recycling center at some point to handle the expected inflow of more materials.
“Even if all we did was break even on the tipping cost thanks to the sale of additional recyclables from curbside collection, then that would be great,” Moore said.
The recycling program will also be expanding in the schools by opening up recycling drop off at the schools to parents who have children attending those schools, according to Shelly Harville, who is an administrative assistant at the mayor’s office and recycling liaison between the city and schools.
“If you have a parent that lives out in Hazel Green, it would help them out to be able to take their recyclables to their child’s school rather than drive all the way to the recycling center to drop them off,” Harville said.
Recycling receptacles were placed at all of the schools in 2008 when the recycling facility expanded, according to Harville. All money received from the collection of recyclables at the schools goes directly back into the schools. The checks are paid out to the schools quarterly. A total of $24,000 has been collected since 2008.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Harville said, adding that the city hoped to build on the program and continue to encourage the youth to recycle.
“It’s about spreading the word and teaching the next generation,” Harville said, adding that the recycling center would continue to have students visit the center on field trips.
To help spread the word and encourage recycling in the schools, Harville came up with the concept of having a traveling trophy for the school that collects the most recyclables.
Another upcoming event that Harville is hoping to involve schools in is the Recycle Bowl, which is a national competition sponsored by Nestle Water.
“We can participate in this totally free and the kids, if they win at a state level will get $1,000 and if they go on and win nationals, they could receive $2,500,” Harville said.
“Recycling in the schools is a real good program. I go to elementary schools to talk to the kids about recycling and these kids really get involved with it. We are trying to start with the kids and build it from there, we have recycled over a million pounds and kept it out of the landfill,” Rudder said.
The recycling center is located at 950 TLC Lane in London.