Local Group Thinks Lexington Can Become a Zero Waste City

Feb 15, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A group of local business professionals wants to see Lexington become a “zero waste” city. As part of community project through Leadership Lexington, the group is targeting ways residents and businesses can increase recycling and compost efforts.

“We really want to encourage the city and people who live in the city to change their mindset so that they’re actually reusing and reducing their waste and then throwing away and recycling material in their homes and in their businesses,” says group member Jennifer Cave.

According to a recent audit of Lexington’s trash, 27% of the material could have been recycled instead of thrown in the garbage, while nearly 29% was compostable material such as yard clippings and food waste.

The zero waste group led a discussion this week on current waste management practices and policies with city officials and representatives from the home builders association, Keeneland, hospital groups, and private waste companies.

“From an economic and environmental perspective, [zero waste] makes sense. And you see other cities going this way as well,” said Susan Bush, Director of Lexington's Division of Environmental Policy.

In San Francisco, residents are required to sort their trash into recyclable and compostable materials or face a fine.

Jim Kem of Rumpke Recycling and Waste Services says important factors to consider are cost and ease of use.

“Sustainability is a key issue with a lot of businesses and people in the know are interested in doing the responsible things although the right thing comes at a price and a commitment.”

The Leadership Lexington group will present its zero waste strategic plan to the Urban County Council in April.