City Launches First of Several Recycling Projects

Louisville Metro Government employees will begin participating in the city’s first recycling project created through a $4.8 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed an executive order Monday to replace the trash cans at all Metro Government employees’ desks with recycling bins by year’s end.

“If we’re telling people they need to be more sustainable and they need to recycle more, certainly city government should be a model for that as well,” Fischer said shortly before signing the order.

Metro Government officials are encouraging businesses to follow suit in order to meet its goal of increasing recycling by 25 percent over the next three years. The decision to expand recycling within Metro Government came from the city's Innovation Delivery Team that was created through the grant.

Next week, two city offices including the mayor's office and the Metro Development Center will replace garbage cans at employee desks with recycling bins. Staff wanting to throw away garbage will have to use a designated trash can on their floor.

Maria Koetter, Louisville's director of sustainability, said this project should save the city money by redirecting recycled material away from landfills, but how much money is not yet determined.

“The first few months, we’ll establish the baseline of the increase of recyclable material and then we’ll be watching our landfill fees go down,” she said.

Fischer said he expects all offices to be on board by the end of the year.

The city will also be implementing a second recycling program later this year. It’ll provide 8,500 residents with large roll-out recycling bins at home and measure their participation.

Councilman Kevin Kramer has pushed for a similar program county-wide for years. He applauds Fischer's effort to set an example within local government, but also said he feels the city could provide all residents with large-roll out bins, while increasing recycle collection to once a week.

“What it requires is someone in the mayor's office to decide this is a big enough deal to make that investment,” said Kramer.

Koetter told WFPL the pilot program has potential to expand on a larger scale, but she said a county-wide program may still be over five years away.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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