Local leaders consider new options for yard waste disposal

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Are you getting rid of your yard waste properly?  If you aren’t, you may be costing yourself and other taxpayers thousands of dollars. And it’s getting to be such a problem city leaders are looking for solutions.

“This is an opportunity for us to look at the future and how to save taxpayers money and get more people involved,” said Richard Maloney, Council At-Large.

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The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council said money is being wasted on its current program that turns yard waste into mulch. The council said trash is contaminating it. The council said some days, about a fourth of the yard waste collected, has to go to the landfill.

“Our struggle is that we have to find a better way to separate the materials, so we have a better product that does have a repurposed use at the end,” said Nancy Albright, Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Work.

All options are on the table. The city could continue collection as is or stop it completely. Albright said it could make more economical sense because the cost of landfill materials in Lexington is low.

“The Scott county landfill, where our material goes right now, does have the methane capture program,” said Albright. “The material that can break down is still filling a new purpose, through that process, it’s just not maybe the highest purpose it could be reused for.”

That is why the council is also considering alternative disposal methods used by Sevier county Tennessee.

“With that, they capture about 70% of biodegradable options that they turn into compost, and they divert about 30%, either to a recycling facility or landfill. And that is almost the opposite of what we do right now,” said Albright.

Council members will also explore companies that can create compost out of yard and food waste.

The council hopes to have a better idea of what direction they want to go in a few months.

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Chelsea Smith joins ABC 36 as a meteorologist and reporter. Chelsea grew up on the south side of Indianapolis. Her love for weather, especially Midwest weather, started with overcoming her childhood fear of thunderstorms. Chelsea graduated from Ball State University in 2017 where she earned her degree in meteorology. As part of a BSU class she chased storms all across the Great Plains and chased tornadoes in Eastern Colorado. She recently moved from Quincy, IL where she was the weekend meteorologist and reporter for WGEM for three years. She has forecasted and covered pretty much all types of Midwest Weather from thunderstorms and tornado outbreaks, blizzards and ice storms, to droughts and historic floods. When Chelsea is not forecasting, she is most likely spending time with her family and her yorkie! She is so excited for be forecasting for Central and Eastern Kentucky!