Audio: Click here to listen to audio from the news conference
Lexington residents will soon find the city’s recycling program even easier to use. Starting June 1, citizens will no longer be required to separate glass from paper, metal and other items that go into the Rosie recycling container, Mayor Jim Newberry announced today during his third news conference this week to highlight city environmental activities during Earth Week .
“Single stream recycling is the most convenient recycling system for homeowners and businesses,” Newberry said. “We’ve invested in new equipment that will make recycling easier for our citizens and more efficient and safer for our employees who work at our recycling center and operate our recycling trucks.”
While many Lexington residents recycle, an analysis last year of materials put in Herbie trash containers found that approximately 75 percent of materials that are thrown away can be recycled. Those materials are now transported to landfills, costing taxpayer’s money in disposal fees and lost recycling revenues.
“The new system enables our recycling center to handle three times the amount of recyclables that it could in the past,” said Newberry. “That means a savings of $1.5 million dollars a year in landfill-related fees and an increase in the amount of money the city receives from the sale of recyclable materials.”
The increased revenue also allowed the Mayor to propose and Council to support a 10% cut in the portion of the property tax dedicated to garbage pick-up.
Single stream recycling will allow the city to transition to an automatic truck for all collection services.
“The automatic trucks are more efficient,” said Cheryl Taylor, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Quality. “Our workers will no longer have to get in and out of the truck several hundred times a day. This will result in fewer injuries, fewer workers comp claims and savings in operational costs.”
Another initiative that will start soon involves a new recycling program partnership between the Division of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Waste Management. Thanks to a $2 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grant, 40 new recycling containers will be placed in 10 of the city’s larger parks. Those containers will be emptied into specially-marked dumpsters which, in turn, will be collected by the Division of Waste Management. The long-term goal is to provide recycling containers at all of the city park locations.
Lexington is observing the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with a week-long series of events. More information about these events and programs, as well as the city’s clean air, land and water initiatives is available at the city’s environmental website: www.livegreenlexington.com.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Cheryl Taylor, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Quality, speaks as Mayor Jim Newberry listens.