Paducah to have a permanent recycling location, but not curbside for now

Recycling could become a permanent fixture in Paducah. City commissioners introduced an ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting to enter into a contract with Freedom Waste Services out of Mayfield.

For 20 years, Paducah used Republic Services. By law, the city couldn’t extend that contract without putting their services out for a public bid. Freedom Waste proved to be the better and more cost effective option.

Paducah City Manager Jeff Pederson says it will cost close to 20 percent less than what they were paying recently for waste services. Transportation factors into the cost. Our waste will now go to Mayfield, as opposed to Republic Service’s landfill in Union City, Tennessee.

The contract with Freedom Waste Services will also provide a transfer station off Potter Lane in Paducah with a permanent recycling drop off. Originally, Paducah had the Greater Paducah Suitability Project as a nonprofit recycling drop off center. When they had to close their doors last March, the city put a temporary drop off location at Republic Services’ transfer station.

As far as curbside recycling, it’s not an option now, but it isn’t off the table.

“We required the companies that proposed to us to also show the capacity to handle a larger volume of recyclables that would come about if the city ever instituted curbside recycling,” Pederson said.

Paducah native Jo Dortch finds it upsetting other communities have curbside recycling and Paducah doesn’t.

“It’s a challenge. I know it’s a challenge, but I feel like there’s got to be a way to do it,” Dortch said.

Dortch was involved with GPSP. She said misses how the organization involved the community in recycling and made curbside recycling a goal.

“It has to be made available to everybody. It has to be something that people can embrace, and then they have to be educated,” Dortch said.

Pederson said in the past, they’ve looked into curbside recycling in a way that wouldn’t cost residents, but now that’s not an option.

“The market for recyclables has dropped. The bottom fell out of it. A lot of it having to do with the international oil market,” Pederson said.

He says under the Freedom Waste contract it costs the city $5.05 more per ton on recyclables than waste. It’s $34.95 per ton of waste and $40 per ton of recyclables.

The city says they’ll likely resume research on curbside recycling once everything is in place with Freedom Waste’s new contract.

During the transition to Freedom Waste, Paducah has a temporary recycling drop off location at 920 Burnett Street across from the Public Works facility. The facility, which is an open lot, is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.

 At Tuesday night’s meeting, Pederson also gave thanks to the Engineering-Public Works Department for their speedy transition to get a temporary facility up and running during the holidays. Since Jan. 1, the city of Paducah’s solid waste trucks have been hauling the city’s waste to Freedom’s facility in Mayfield. This will continue until the transfer station is operational.  

The city says the new recycling drop off location off potter lane should be ready by Aug. 1.

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