Neighbors concerned about fewer recycling options in county

What do you do with your recyclables? People in McCracken County say now there’s one less option to be green.

That’s because Republic Services Trash Company sent a letter to their customers saying it will no longer pick up recyclables. In the letter, Republic says processing fees and transportation got more expensive, so it had to cut the service.

Instead. the company suggests customers drop off recyclables at the city of Paducah’s drop point. That’s at 920 Burnett Street, across from the Paducah Public Works building. But, people say that isn’t a solution that will work for everyone in the county.

Mike Marlier says there’s a reason why he’s recycled for decades. “I’m a tree hugger, and its good for the planet," he says.

But now that Republic collected his recycle bin, only the trash bin is left. Marlier says he’s at a loss. “What are we doing with this? We hate to throw it in the garbage," he says.

Marlier says traveling across town to recycle is not as convenient, and some of his neighbors just can’t.

The problem is people who do recycle here say they’re already stuffed to the brim, and there’s barely enough space for them to recycle here.

Nathan Yancy says he knows the recycle drop point pretty well. He says it needs some upgrades, but if upgrades mean more people recycling, he welcomes the change. "There are lots of people who would like to recycle in western Kentucky who aren’t because of the limited amount of recycling opportunities," he says.

Paducah City Manager Jeff Pederson says the Paducah site isn’t equipped to handle county households’ recycling. Pederson says it is a service people want, but it will take time to make changes —if changes are even possible. “The economics of it are way different than garbage in that we actually pay more," he says.

Marlier knows money was the main motivator ending his curbside service, but he says he’s motivated to help keep the earth clean.     

Pederson told me Republic did not notify the city of the service change. He said the city is going to study the Burnett Street drop point for possible improvements. The city is also studying the potential for a second drop point. They’re looking at the Freedom Waste Transfer Station in the Littleville part of Paducah that is currently under construction.    

There is a service in town that will pick up your recyclables curbside. It’s called Dream Green. It has been in operation five years, and the owners say they’ve seen a recent uptick in customers. Co-owner Casi Sloan says she’s seen the trend in waste companies leaving the recycling business. Sloan says that’s because it’s expensive and requires a lot of people interested in recycling to pay off.

"It is far cheaper to put items that are recyclable into a landfill, far cheaper, but eventually we’re going to run out of space," Sloan says.

For more information on Dream Green, click here.

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