Paper recycling returns to Lexington curbsides

Posted at 11:46 AM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 18:30:16-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The City of Lexington can once again start making some green paper off its recycled paper. Following a three-year hiatus, residents can now bring their recyclable paper materials to the curb.

“At the beginning, when we had to stop the paper recycling, people were unhappy. I heard about it from constituents, and I know our council members heard it too,” said Mayor Linda Gorton after cutting the ribbon on the revamped recycling center, located near The Distillery District.


Three years ago, the city had nowhere to go with its recycled paper. There were no buyers and there was no one even willing to take it for free.

“What domestic markets didn’t want back in 2019 was what we had to offer,” said Nancy Albright who heads the Department of Environmental Quality for Lexington.

“What we sorted the paper and cardboard with before involved using a rotating system. Now it uses a ballistic system and that has allowed us to separate paper and cardboard more efficiently,” Commissioner Albright continued.

Paper recycling in Lexington

In short; our co-mingled recyclables were co-mingling a little too much and that was causing the paper products to become contaminated. In response, they made a more than $,4,000,000 investment into this facility to upgrade the sorting and bundling process. While the price tag was steep, it was well worth it to a mayor who knew this was important to her constituents. And it was just as important for her to be able to tap back into that lost revenue stream.

“We sell them. The big bales of whether it’s metal, or paper, or plastic or whatever it is, those go on the market and get sold,” Mrs. Gorton explained.


For nearly three years, those who felt compelled to recycle paper were doing so by brining car/truck loads of it to various yellow bins spread across the city. Now residents can go back to the convenience of simply rolling it down the driveway.

And the city can once again start rolling in the money that those paper bundles can yield in return.

“Just really appreciate everyone’s patience,” Gorton said of her citizens, for giving the city time to work towards this solution.