City officials in London ask for public to stop recycling non-accepted items

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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials with the City of London are asking for help to make sure only accept items are recycled at the London Regional Recycling Center.

Locals that frequent the recycling center say they want to do their part in protecting the environment. They say easy ways they do so is recycling magazines, aluminum cans, and other household items they no longer need.

"Well, it's the thing you need to do, you know. To keep it out of the landfills as much as you can," says community member, Geraldine Webb.

They say while they are selling more tonnage of recycled items, and more people are recycling than before, the products are bringing in less money.

"It all started roughly a year ago when China became really selective on what they want to take. We used to recycle everything three through seven, we had a bin for that. We took it, we bailed it, and we had a market for that," says London Public Works Director, Steve Edge.

Edge says when China stopped buying the items, many in the market followed.

Now, the main items the London Regional Recycling Center accepts are water bottles, pop bottles, and clear and colored milk jugs. Edge says these items are rigid number two items.

However, other number two items, like grocery bags, are not accepted.

"We can't recycle those, nobody wants them. I know everybody says they are recyclable, well everything is recyclable. But, can you do anything with it but throw it away? And, if you have to throw it away, you're not recycling," says Edge.

Other issues with recycling that are arising are when people put hazardous items that need to be thrown out in the garbage.

"The needles are the worst things. But, when people throw a bag of garbage in that has a baby diaper in it, that's toxic. You know, people don't need to be handling that," Edge adds.

Safety, however, is not the only issue the recycling center is facing.

Officials say three years ago, the facility was making around $650,000 per year, in revenue. This year, they say they expect to bring in $350,000.

If this continues, according to workers, it could be detrimental to the facility.

Edge says, "It's just one of those situations. You can go as long as you can. But, when it becomes cost-prohibitive, it's like your stuff at home. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it."

Items like water hoses and pool liners have particularly been an issue, causing a counter-productive situation.

And, more misplaced items means it will take more money from the city, with little coming in from market sales.

"We're having to pay to get this garbage hauled off. We're paying people to sort the good product out of the garbage," Edge says.

So for the next year, officials say they will be focusing on educating the public on what items are recyclable and what items are not.

"If it's not recyclable, please don't put it in a recycle bin. If you do that, you will solve ninety percent of the problems we have here," says Edge.

Officials say they hope that by making better use of resources they can increase the volume of usable recycled items, and nearly eliminate the cost of the city's garbage expenses.

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