The city of London was awarded a recycling grant last week from the state government worth $209,116.66.

The grant will be used to buy equipment like a mobile-shred truck, large recycling containers for businesses and metal supplies to build recycling bins for the Public Works Department, according to Steven Edge, London's Public Works director.

Edge said the city is in the process of refining its recycling process. "We're getting a lot of items that we can't recycle," Edge said. "It's costing the city to try to get those items out of the system."

Eighty-four grants worth a total of over $4.6 million were announced on June 4 to be distributed across varying regions of Kentucky. Forty-nine of the grants are dedicated to recycling, six to composting and 29 to household hazardous waste.

The grants, funded by the Kentucky Pride Fund, call for a 25% match from the area the grant contributes to "in the form of cash or 'in kind' personnel, educational activities or advertising to promote the program from the cities or counties receiving the awards," according to KY.gov.

Edge said the city will be paying the same amount they usually do with the match fee, meaning the department now has access to more than $150,000 than they are used to working with.

While it may be cliché to say just one person can make a difference, it is true with recycling. The average American will use an amount of paper and wood that is equal to seven trees in a year, and reclining just one aluminum can save enough energy to power a television for three hours, according to RecycleNation.com.

According to rubicon.com, around 90% of solid waste in the U.S. isn't recycled and even though 75% of America's garbage can be recycled, only 30% actually is. Also according to the website, "9 out of 10 people said they would recycle if it were 'easier.'"

"We want to get recycling established in the smaller communities and also have a way for them to have an in-market for them, as well," said Grant White, the Environmental Control Supervisor for the Recycling Assistance section in Kentucky.

According to KentuckyRecyclers.com, 8,000 jobs in Kentucky have been created due to recycling and over $440 million is paid in annual wages by the recycling industry. The site also states that Americans throw away 25 million water bottles every hour and that "Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times" 10 years ago.

The cost of recycling is going up across the country, and Kentucky has not been immune to this issue, according to WasteDive.com. The Bowling Green Daily News said the cost of recycling in Logan County quadrupled in 2017. Meanwhile, the Herald-Leader reported Lexington lost $500,000 on recycling in 2018.

White said the money put into the grants has remained steady over the past few years and they are hoping to increase the amount in the future, but he at least wants to maintain the current amount going forward.

ccoyle@sentinel-echo.com

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