Covington will continue to recycle paper

Earlier this week, the city of Lexington, Ky. announced a suspension of its paper recycling program. About 90 miles away, the city of Covington, Ky. – just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, emphasized today that it will continue to recycle.

“Covington residents should continue recycling paper products and residents should rest assured that those products and others are going to mills to be broken down and reused – not dumped into landfills,” the city said in an announcement.

The city contracts with Rumpke Waste & Recycling for curbside collection.

Lexington said that it would no longer recycle paper and paper products from Lexington and 12 nearby cities and counties, joining a list of local governments across the country that have suspended recycling operations in response to the decision by China to limit its purchase of recyclables.

Disturbed by the Lexington development, Sheila Fields, Covington’s solid waste and recycling coordinator checked with Rumpke and said that the response was “quick and reassuring. Recycling is continuing here without interruption. We aren’t altering our acceptable items list,” Fields said she was told.

Coincidentally, Fields said, Rumpke sent a letter a few weeks ago assuring Covington officials that all recycling material collected here was being sent to an end user. The letter was prompted by reports that some recyclers were being forced by the loss of the Chinese market to dump the collected material into landfills.

In fact, Rumpke felt so strongly about the issue that it released a YouTube video – shown below – explaining its operations. In the video, Steve Sargent, Rumpke’s director of recycling, says that the company is exporting only 2 percent of its recyclables, and has found domestic markets for 98 percent of its material in the Midwest U.S.

“The message for residents in Covington is one of confidence,” Fields said. “They should know that when they do their part to reduce the flow of garbage into landfills, the system works.”

Fields said Covington residents recycled 178.1 tons of paper, plastic and metal in March of this year. The number of recycling “accounts” is 1,050 higher than it was three years ago.

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