By Rob McDaniel
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The City of London received a grant last week that will allow the recycling program to expand current services and make the local recycling center one of a very select few in the Commonwealth that has the capability to recycle glass in large quantities.
The PRIDE grant awarded to the city totaled more than $25,000 and will be used to purchase a glass processor for the recycling program.
Currently, the city has no way to recycle glass.
“We have an abundance of glass bottles,” said Mayor Troy Rudder. “Recycling glass is so labor intensive that we’d be losing money if we recycled it right now.”
Currently, if the city wanted to recycle glass, they would have to sort it by color and by thickness, a task that would take entirely too much time and manpower to be feasible.
“When we started the recycling program, we were getting about 30 yards of glass a week, that’s 15 to 20 tons,” said Steve Edge, public works director. “We had no idea what we were going to do with it. Without this equipment, we would have to sort by the color and thickness of glass; it’s entirely too labor intensive.”
The glass processor that the city will be purchasing originally cost $180,000. However, London will be able to purchase an 8-year-old piece of equipment from a Lexington facility for $15,000. Purchasing the equipment used will allow the city to utilize the remainder of the grant to refurbish and upgrade the processor to fit the current recycling center’s available space.
“I’m excited,” Edge said. “We’ll be one of the only centers in the area with the capability to recycle glass.”
The new processor should be operational by October or November. Edge will have to have it disassembled in Lexington and brought back to London to be reassembled before it will be ready for use. Edge also said the equipment will require some minor modifications to fit in the recycling center efficiently.
The new processor will not only allow the city to recycle glass, but it will do so in a way that is beneficial to the community.
“The machine we’re getting isn’t supposed to leave any sharp edges on the recycled glass,” said Rudder. “It turns it in to pea gravel. We can use that for landscaping or grind it into sand and use it for concrete. We really won’t know what all we’ll be able to do with it until we set it up and get it going. The possibilities are endless.”
The recycled glass will be used for landscaping and trails at the wellness park; additionally there are plans to use it to make road improvements throughout London.
“There’s a lot of ways it can be used, but it alleviates a problem we have and that’s what to do with glass without dumping it in a landfill somewhere,” Rudder said.
In addition to receiving the PRIDE grant, the recycling center reported to have underestimated their projected revenue on the 2013 to 2014 budget. The city estimated the recycling center would make $480,000 from recycling, but now thinks that the number will be closer to $500,000 in revenue for the year.