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Bluegrass blueprint: the commonwealth of Kentucky has introduced a recycling plan designed to lay plans for 2010 and beyond.

Kentucky's recycling rates have improved throughout the last several years, up from 13 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in 2004. However, the state still remains behind the national average of 28 percent.

This lag in part may be because only 27 percent of Kentucky households have access to curbside recycling.

A lack of recycling infrastructure and education, combined with the cheapest landfilling rates in the region (at $28 per ton, Kentucky's disposal rates are approximately $3 per ton less than the average of the surrounding states) are the major obstacles to improving recycling rates. Until recently, Kentucky offered no state-funded recycling grants.

KENTUCKY'S SB 50. Kentucky Senate Bill 50, passed by the 2006 Kentucky General Assembly, expands the use of an existing fund (the Kentucky Pride Fund, established in 2002) to include grants to local governments for recycling and household hazardous waste collection.

Derived from a $1.75-per-ton environmental-remediation fee on waste disposed, the Kentucky Pride Fund was previously limited to clean up of illegal dumps and orphan landfill closure.

In partnership with local governments, the state has made significant headway in the cleanup of illegal dumps, achieving an 85 percent in illegal dumping and cleaning up more than 22,000 illegal dumps since 1997.

As a result of progress made in cleaning up Kentucky's landscapes of illegal dumps by 2010, the Division of Waste Management justified the need to fund recycling by presenting the state's less-than-average recycling rates, the lack of statewide infrastructure, the cost and energy savings in recycling and recycling's connection to the state's manufacturing economy. The legislature agreed, and SB 50 passed with unanimous consent.


Utilizing these newly established recycling grants, and by several other means, the division hopes to meet and possibly to exceed its goal of achieving a 35 percent recycling rate by 2010.

COLLECTION SNAPSHOT. In developing a recycling implementation plan that will most effectively and efficiently capitalize on available resources, the Division of Waste Management's recycling staff has and continues to evaluate factors such as the location and capacity of existing curbside programs, drop-off recycling locations, regional centers, processing facilities, end-users, road networks and local political support in favor of recycling efforts.

The division's preliminary research and ideas are being presented in meetings and presentations to local governments, state agencies, the private sector, environmental groups and the interested public to stimulate discussion and input for ultimate improvement of the plan.

The division is eliciting ideas from the broad spectrum of interested parties and recycling specialists within and outside the commonwealth, encouraging public/private recycling partnerships and attaching incentives through the Kentucky EXCEL program (

CONSUMING MARKETS. Recycling staff has also and continue to research and survey Kentucky-based manufacturers of recycled-content products, locating 12 industries as of this writing.

Through the research, it is apparent that Kentucky is home to a number of major end users. For example, the Novelis plant in Berea and Arco Aluminum in Louisville are two of the world's largest manufacturers of recycled-content aluminum cans.

Signode, in Florence, Ky., is a world leader in the manufacturing of PET-based plastic strapping and its parent company Illinois Tool Works is the world's third-largest PET end user.

Other companies that use secondary commodities as feedstock include Weyerhaeuser, Kimberly-Clark, Toyota, David-Joseph Co., Arco Aluminum, All-Weather Insulation, Temple-Inland, North American Stainless, Gallatin Steel, Champion Polymer, Play-Mart and Soft Landing Rubber, among others.

In its survey of these companies, the division learned their greatest need was for more feedstock, with more recovered material coming from Kentucky, if possible.

The division had already calculated that Kentuckians threw away approximately $63 million in plastic, paper and aluminum in 2004, so its challenge was to reroute this valuable feedstock from the landfills to the end users.

Although not an end-user, WalMart also came to the table, offering recycling assistance to local governments across the state.

Recycled commodity prices are holding at solid, sustainable levels (with some commodities, such as aluminum and steel, at historic highs) and strong market levels are projected for the foreseeable future (at least the next five to 10 years).

Additionally, the increasingly important energy savings inherent in recycling means it makes good environmental and economic sense to establish a strong recycling infrastructure for the commonwealth.

The recycling industry in Kentucky is estimated to provide at least 10,000 jobs in a state with a population of just greater than 4 million. Research is underway to determine the recycling industry's contribution to the state's economy, but preliminary estimates are in the hundreds of millions.

Further, jobs in the recycling industry typically pay a higher wage than the average Kentuckian's salary of $35,000. A number of the end-use companies have chosen to locate in Kentucky in light of its centralized location for shipping in recyclables and shipping out end products. The recent but added benefits of industry interest in assisting local recycling efforts are too new too measure, but are certain to contribute to advancing the efforts.

TAKING INTEREST. Initially assembled for input on developing the Kentucky recycling plan, the Kentucky Recycling Interest Group was convened for the first time in November 2005 by the division and has met quarterly since that time.

The members include representatives from state and local government, environmental groups, university representatives, end-users, recyclers, processors, manufacturers and commercial establishments. Operating under the theme "Waste is Simply A Resource Misplaced," this group has been and will continue to be integral for advising the division on its recycling strategy, with intentions to be formalized in the coming months as the Kentucky Recycling Marketing Assistance Advisory Committee (KRMA Committee).

Besides making the most of the economic benefits of recycling, the group is also addressing industrial waste exchange and beneficial reuse of waste materials, meeting with state recycling managers from Pennsylvania and North Carolina as well as EPA Region 4 to learn their successful strategies and potential pitfalls to avoid.

Kentucky is working on a plan for 2010 and beyond, with expected outcomes for waste reduction. Our goals for 2010 will be to meet or exceed a 35 percent recycling rate and a 50 percent waste-reduction goal, develop sufficient capacity for existing recycling operations and build upon a sound recycling foundation for a flourishing recycling economy that will attract other green businesses to the commonwealth of Kentucky.

Those interested in learning more about the plan can visit for more information on Kentucky's recycling programs.


The Virginia Beach, Va., City Public Schools district announced a comprehensive recycling program as part of a larger environmental initiative.

The program covers materials found in offices, classrooms and cafeterias including all types of paper, including school paper, cardboard, newspaper, magazines, unwanted mail, aluminum and steel cans and plastic and glass bottles.

"Through the program, students and staff will be recycling all of these materials from the waste stream," says Ed Farmer of TFC Recycling. "By encouraging all to recycle, we can assist the school district in saving valuable resources and reducing trash disposal fees."

"The city of Virginia Beach has long realized that recycling is important in the home environment," Michael Benedetto, owner and vice president of TFC Recycling, says. "The school division has been recycling paper for a number of years. Virginia Beach City Public Schools has decided to expand their recycling commitment to include the same types of recyclables collection in the schools as they offer at home. We are thrilled that the Virginia Beach City Public Schools has taken the lead and decided upon this environmentally-friendly program for their students," adds.

TFC Recycling collects recyclables at the schools, delivering them to its Chesapeake material recovery facility for processing.


Recyclers willing to leave the office to gain some market insight will have several opportunities to do so this fall.

In September, The Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA) is taking America Recycles Day one step further this year by scheduling a series of tours and events.

The events will occur not only on Nov. 15 (America Recycles Day), but throughout the year as well, according to WSRA member and Tacoma Solid Waste Management official Dave Frutiger.

The first Washington Recycles Every Day event will take place on Friday, Sept. 22, at Grays Harbor Paper in Hoquiam, Wash. According to Frutiger, presentations during lunch will be followed by a tour of the facility.

More details and registration information can be found at the WSRA Web site at or can be obtained by calling the group's office at (206) 244-0311.

An event that has been attracting municipal recyclers for two decades is the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) Annual Congress, taking place Oct. 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.

The recently announced schedule for the event includes sessions that begin on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 23, and conclude the mid-morning of Weds., Oct. 25. In addition to the educational sessions spread throughout the three days, the NRC Congress features optional tours of north Georgia recycling facilities and tourist destinations, an exhibit hall, several receptions and the annual softball game.

Those interested in registering for the NRC Annual Congress can download a registration form at

In November the Paper Stock Industries (PSI) Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) will convene in Huntington Beach, Calif., for its 45th Annual Fall Conference.

The theme for the Nov. 8-10 event is "Global Opportunities in Paper Recycling," and the scheduled keynote speaker is Anthony Pratt, chairman and CEO of Pratt Industries. Pratt will speak about global warming and how recycling paper plays a key role, according to PSI.

The Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach will be hosting the event. According to PSI, "The conference will be filled with informative sessions on business development, domestic production and international influences, scrap plant safety and insurance updates, cocktail parties, lunches and a special dinner." An exhibit hall will also be included. More information on the event can be found at

The author is resource conservation and local assistance branch manager with Kentucky's Division of Waste Management. She can be contacted at Sara.
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Author:Evans, Sara
Publication:Recycling Today
Geographic Code:1U6KY
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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