Taking A Look At Proposed Mandatory Recycling Program

By: Renee Charles Email
By: Renee Charles Email

Last week, Lexington mayor Jim Newberry released a city audit filled with ideas on how to streamline city business making it more effective and efficient.
One of the ideas presented was mandatory recycling. And while there is no decision made yet, the mayor says he'll consider it.
Nearly 60 percent of people in Lexington do recycle in some form or fashion, but there's still a need for more and the mayor says if it becomes mandatory they will enforce it.
If the city does adopt a mandatory recycling program, the mayor says it's quite possible they'll have someone doing spot checks to make sure you are recycling. That means someone literally digging though your trash.
We did some digging ourselves and found that hundreds of cities across the country already have mandatory recycling programs. In some places it's a statewide policy, but how do they work?
We took a look at Madison, Wisconsin, a town similar to Lexington in size and demographics. The plan is simple, residents with city trash service receive a trash can and a recycle bin. If the garbage collectors see recyclable material in the our garbage can, they won't pick it up.
You won't find someone sifting through your trash to see what's in it. Instead, they've gone high tech with cameras in the hoppers of the garbage trucks which allow the drivers to watch as the trash is being dumped in.
If they see recyclable material in the garbage can, they'll put a note on the door, reminding the resident of the mandatory recycling rules. If it happens over and over you're at risk of a fine.
Seattle started a mandatory recycling plan this year. People could face a $50 fine after the third violation and in New Jersey, it's a state law and the fines can go up to $1000!
Vanceburg is the only city in Kentucky with a mandatory program in place.
Bluegrass PRIDE in Lexington says the voluntary recycling program in town works well with nearly 60% of people using it in some way. But there's always room for improvement and that starts with education.
Amy Sohner says nearly 10 thousand of jobs depend on recycling in this area. There are recycling companies all over the area like in Berea and northern Kentucky. In Somerset, they take recycled plastics and turn it into playground items.
The average person produces over 7 pounds of garbage every day and at least a quarter of that is recyclable.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 2, 2008 at 11:25 AM
    omg why are people so ignorant!!!
  • by Tere Location: San Antonio on May 8, 2008 at 06:25 AM
    They really should mae recycling mandatory, but they shouldnt make us pay for them to pick up our trash.
  • by Charlie Location: Richmond on Mar 6, 2008 at 05:22 AM
    Note to Dump it in Wolf Run Creek; I always hear about folks in Lexington complaining about once a week trash pick up versus twice a week. I have a family of four and once a week pick up is plenty for me in Richmond. Do people in Lexington produce more trash than those of us in other cities that have once a week pick up? When I grew up in a Northern state, it was once a week and worked fine there as well. What is all the fuss about? If you are producing that much trash that you need it twice a week, the first thing you need to look at is how you are living your life. That's way too much trash being generated.
  • by Brent Location: Mt. Sterling on Mar 6, 2008 at 01:14 AM
    I don't live in Fayette County but I believe recycling is important, important enough to require it. We simply throw away and waste too many resources that could be reused. What's more, separating your recyclables from your garbage is no more difficult than sorting through your mail -- you put the junk in one pile and the usable stuff in another.
  • by Nancy Location: Lexington on Mar 4, 2008 at 09:33 AM
    More people will recylcle if it is convenient for them. This year we installed a recyling trashcan in the cabinet beside our regular trashcan. It is now so easy to recycle. It would be great if Newberry could restrict or limit businesses from sending out advertisements and/or junk mail. It is such a waste in today's world.
  • by Sean Parks Location: Lexington on Mar 4, 2008 at 06:10 AM
    Whatever happened to the USA? Stay out of my trash and leave me alone!
  • by Chad Location: Lexington on Mar 4, 2008 at 04:23 AM
    I'm not saying that we recycling shouldn't be encouraged, but at what point do we tell our governments that enough is enough on laws to govern every aspect of our lives?
  • by Lauren Location: Richmond on Mar 3, 2008 at 06:28 PM
    I think that is a great idea that every county should adopt! Everyone needs to do their part and recycle, but in most places it is a huge chore. I don't currently recycle because it is such an incredible hassle. I don't have a truck nor the time to haul my recyclable items to the center every week. I would be thrilled to have a set-up like Fayette County does, it would do SO much good.
  • by Dump it in Wolf Run Creek on Mar 3, 2008 at 04:59 PM
    Hold up, we were cut to once a week pick up that forced us to sort our garbage or pay BIG BUCKS to gat an additional Herbie. Now the GREED of the LFUCG has set in. Less pick up = more money for LFUCG and Mayor Jimmie to insulate himself from the pesants of Lexington that are still waiting for him to return a SIMPLE PHONE CALL. That dog don't hunt!
  • by Bubba Location: LEX on Mar 3, 2008 at 04:30 PM
    If the city wants a recycling program they should try giving discount to those that recycle.
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