Lexington suspends paper recycling

Changes in the global marketplace for recycled materials are forcing the Lexington (Kentucky) Recycle Center to temporarily suspend recycling of paper products, the city announced.

Lexington does have a buyer for dry corrugated cardboard, like moving and shipping boxes, so residents should continue to recycle cardboard that is dry, the city said.

“Outlets for paper products are accepting only limited amounts due to an overabundance of material in domestic markets,” said Nancy Albright, Lexington’s commissioner of environmental quality and public works. “The Recycle Center does not have the space to store the paper long-term, or in large quantities.”

Albright said the is actively seeking new recycling outlets for paper.

“At least three new nearby mills are expected to begin receiving materials by late fall of 2019.”

Among those mills within a few hundred miles are Pratt Industries‘ new containerboard mill in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Shanyang Paper’s new Phoenix Paper mill, in Wickliffe, Kent. and ND Paper‘s recently acquired mill in Fairmont, W.Va.

In the meantime, to reduce processing costs, residents are encouraged to throw office paper, newspaper, magazines, cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and similar products in their trash cans, Albright said.

“Central Kentuckians will be encouraged to once again put paper products in their recycle carts once a reliable outlet is in place,” she said.

Over the past several months, the city has often given mixed paper and paperboard away to avoid sending it to the landfill.

The change affects the materials Lexington Recycle Center (or Lexington Materials Recovery Facility) receives from public and private waste haulers in Lexington and many other Central Kentucky communities, including, Berea, Frankfort, Franklin County, Georgetown, Harrison County, Jessamine County, Madison County, Nicholasville, Paris, Versailles, Winchester and Woodford County.

The Recycle Center will combine the paper products it receives and give the paper to recycling outlets when possible. Unclaimed paper will be landfilled. This process will remain in effect until a reliable recycling outlet is available.

The city also is exploring improvements in glass recycling. The current single-stream set-up causes equipment break-downs at the recycling center, and does not produce the most desirable recycling product. The city said it is evaluating new equipment and the impact of collection changes.

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