Innovation in Recycling Program – By Tim Darst
This ability for the system to handle non-recyclable items led to another innovation, the wet-dry system. This system is being piloted with businesses downtown and has been a real success. The idea behind wet-dry is that you separate the items that the single-stream system can handle (wet), like big globs of food, diapers, etc. , from items it can handle (dry), like recyclables and trash. According to the city’s website “wet waste includes foods, liquids, used tissues, and dirty paper towels.” But would also include diapers, feminine products, and any other unsanitary items. The dry waste includes just about everything else, recyclable or not. This pilot program has been so successful, that the city is looking for ways to extend it to other parts of the city.
A third innovation was started as a pilot program at the University of Louisville that led to another idea. The University has been letting QRS collect all of the trash cans that are located out-of-doors on their Belknap campus. QRS then sorts them in their single stream-system and they have found that about 80% of the items are recyclable. These are items that would have normally gone to the landfill! At a neighborhood meeting in the Highlands, it was suggested that the neighborhood association look into ways to get recycle bins along Bardstown Road. A board member familiar with the UL program offered to contact the city to see if they could simply empty those cans into their recycle trucks instead of into the garbage trucks. Keith Hackett, Executive Director of Metro Solid Waste, was excited about the idea and was thrilled to implement the change. So from now on, any items thrown into those metal trash cans along Bardstown Road and Lexington Road will be sent to the QRS sorting facility and recycled if they are able. So the next time you eat at one of the many restaurants along these strips and have a bottle or can that you want recycled (assuming the restaurant doesn’t recycle), take it with you and drop it in one of the cans along the sidewalk.
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