Recycle updates

Contamination, regular maintenance and recycling markets can all affect Lexington’s Recycle Center, which serves communities throughout Central Kentucky. SEE MAP. This page provides the latest updates on what’s happening at the center so you can be a recycling expert.


May 17, 2019

We are happy to share that some of our partner communities are planning to divert their recycling to another facility during the paper suspension in order to continue to accept paper. UK has a temporary agreement with another processor. Rumpke will take its material to its plant in Cincinnati. Combined UK and Rumpke’s total material is the equivalent of less than 10% of Lexington Recycle Center’s incoming stream. They were able to find another outlet because of the relatively small amount of material.

May 14, 2019

Changes in the global marketplace for recycled materials are forcing the Lexington Recycle Center to temporarily suspend recycling of paper products. Businesses and residents should throw office paper, newspaper, magazines, cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and similar products in their trashcans until further notice.

The Recycle Center is actively seeking new outlets, and will encourage residents to once again recycle paper products when a reliable market is found.

Read the full press release here.

FAQs related to the May 14 announcement

Tips on reducing your paper use

Click on the blue button below to download a printable flyer that reflects this temporary change.

Download a flyer on what to recycle

A brief overview of the Recycle Center

The Lexington Recycle Center doesn’t actually recycle materials. It simply processes and sorts the materials that are delivered by recycling collection trucks from across Central Kentucky. The sorted materials are then sold or given to various industries that recycle them.

The center’s operations can be impacted by unwanted materials mixed in the recycling stream. This trash reduces the efficiency of the center’s operations. It can damage equipment, place employees at risk and diminish the value of sorted materials that the center sells. Help keep the center running smoothly by recycling right.


Put simply, the markets are created by the industries that buy the recyclable materials once they are sorted. Without reliable markets, recycling programs don’t have outlets for the products they sort. Recycling markets across the country are under strain due to increased standards in China. Learn more about challenges faced by recycling programs across the country:

2019, April 22: As recyclables pile up in the U.S., more and more communities are debating whether to scrap recycling programs altogether, (Video) NBC Nightly News

2019, April 1: How American recycling is changing after China’s national sword, by Nicole Javorsky

2019, March 16: As Costs Skyrocket, More U.S. Cities Stop Recycling, by Michael Corkery, New York Times

2019, March 5: Is This the End of Recycling? by Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

2019, January 25: Can Lexington afford its recycling program? Some cities nix recycling as costs climb, by Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald Leader

2019, January 21: A move by China puts U.S. small-town recycling programs in the dumps, by Rebecca Beitsch, Washington Post