LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– As of May 14, the city of Lexington is no longer accepting paper at their recycling center. The University of Kentucky is still recycling paper but at a higher cost.
Joanna Ashford, the University of Kentucky Recycling Coordinator, said that the campus generates about an 18-wheeler’s worth of paper a week, so when the city stopped accepting paper last month, they had a decision to make.
“We here at the University estimate that about 40 percent of what we recycle is paper,” said Ashford. “We had a lot of different options we tried to weigh in a quick period of time whether that was, do we go sort out that paper, do we provide new containers for paper.”
Ultimately, they decided to stick to the sustainability plan they created back in 2017.
“Part of that plan is to increase our diversion rate from the landfill to 50. So we want to try and divert half of what we’re sending to the landfill by 2022. So with that being our goal, we had to find a temporary solution while the city had their ban,” she said.
For the university, that means a more expensive option, Rumpke Recycling based in Cincinnati.
“We decided to go ahead and keep the system as is, while people can continue to use one container for all of their recyclables, but make sure to send that to Rumpke Recycling while the city has their temporary ban,” she said.
Given the price hike, the university says they did not sign a long-term contract with the Cincinnati company and they will be happy to give their business back to the city when the paper ban is lifted.
During the paper ban, the paper that is still going to the Lexington Recycling Center is costing the city twice as much because they have to transport it a second time to landfills around the area.