London Needs Residents to Recycle Smarter

After years of urging residents to recycle and establishing a successful recycling center, the City of London is now sending out a new message: We need you to be smarter about recycling.

It’s called London Recycling 2.0. And it’s a message born of necessity.

The market for recycling materials is in the dumps, so to speak, after China decided at the beginning of the year not to accept loads of waste paper, metals or plastic unless they are 99.5 percent pure.

That’s hard for the single-stream recycling centers in the U.S. to attain. Previously, all they had to do was bale the recycling materials, contaminates and all, and send them to China for sorting and processing.

Now, that job falls to recycling centers such as the London Regional Recycling Center, which has increased manpower costs significantly. To make matters worse, the glut of recycling materials has decreased revenue to the point that some municipalities have stopped recycling altogether.

London is not there yet, but it needs residents to be more careful about what they recycle, and not include contaminates such as food, clothing, dirty diapers and yard waste.

“We are losing all the way around,” said Steve Edge, London’s Public Works Director. “Misuse is the biggest thing. The more garbage they put in the more we have to pay to sort it. We’re losing a lot of recycled garbage because of contamination.”

Steep declines in revenue
The country’s major waste hauling and recycling companies—Waste Management, Republic Services and Waste Connections— have all reported steep declines in recycling revenue, some as much as 43 percent.
In London this year, the decline in recycling revenue may approach 50 percent.

The city recycled 3,957 tons in fiscal year 2016-2017 which produced revenue of $635,695. Projections for the current fiscal year which ends June 30 are for 3,136 tons, but revenue of only $257,135.

“As you can see, we are processing almost the same amount of tons, but getting about half the revenue,” Edge said.

The loss will have a significant impact on London’s budget.

“Long story short, and it’s a multitude of reasons, we’re going to be about $400,000 short,” Mayor Troy Rudder said. “It’s the economy for recycling across the world. I’ve talked to mayors who are baling it and throwing it away. They are going through the motions of recycling and then dumping it.”

London doesn’t want to go through the motions of recycling, which is why it’s asking residents to be more careful and thoughtful about what they throw in the recycling bins.

“What can we do as a group to break even?” the mayor said. “Across the nation 25 percent of all recycling has to be thrown away because of contamination from kitchen garbage.”

London Recycling 2.0
In the coming months, the city plans a major educational campaign to show residents what can be recycled correctly, and what needs to be thrown in the trash.

The campaign will include news articles, Facebook posts, videos, posters, door hangers and other materials to educate residents how to recycle smarter.

For example, most people don’t know that plastic grocery bags are not recyclable, and in fact, gum up the machinery in the recycling center. Egg cartons and foam restaurant take-out boxes are not acceptable either. Only plastic that has either a 1 or 2 on the bottom should be recycled. The rest is garbage.

“I’ll bet for six months I threw glass in the recycling can.” Mayor Rudder said. I was under the impression we can make pea gravel out of it. I okayed the information that went out on it. But it wasn’t correct.”

The recycling center accepts glass as drop-off only. Glass in the curbside cans is a danger to employees and work-release inmates who have to sort them.

Councilman Judd Weaver, who leads the street and sanitation committee, said education now is the number one priority.

“I was throwing stuff away that is not recyclable too,” he said. “If we educate people and give them a little better understanding about the recycling process, we will all be better off.”

Weaver said in the current economic conditions, the best thing for residents to remember is, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

City Receives $3,000 Matching Grant from KLC

The City of London received a $3,000 matching grant from the Kentucky League of Cities to help improve worker safety and training. London uses the grant to pay for steel toe boots for about 40 workers, as well as additional safety training.

Greg Partin, left, senior loss control consultant for KLC, presented the check to Mayor Troy Rudder and the city’s safety officer Rick Cochrane.

A Successful Spring Clean-Up Day

The City is thankful for all of the volunteers who helped rid downtown London of unsightly trash this morning during SprinClean-Up Day.

Volunteers met at the Tourism Office at 9 a.m. and were given pickers, gloves, and high-visibility vests, as well as areas in downtown for them to patrol.

The Spring Clean-Up Day took place just in time to polish the downtown area, accentuating London’s beauty before thousands arrive for the annual Redbud Ride.

Wilderness Warrior Inaugural Event

Wilderness Warrior will be recess for adults;
Inaugural event set for April 27th in London

The Wilderness Road was a steep, rough and narrow path that could only be traversed on foot or horseback after Daniel Boone and 35 axmen cut a route through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky in 1775.

In the spring of 2019, modern-day fitness warriors will encounter similar rugged conditions when they traverse 3.1 miles on and around the former Wilderness Road.

They will get tested, covered in mud and have a lot of fun, while supporting local family organizations.

The Wilderness Warrior Obstacle and Mud Run will be held Saturday, April 27 at Levi Jackson State Park and the Laurel County Fairgrounds located on Ky. 229, which incorporates a lot of Boone’s Wilderness Road.

“Wilderness Warrior is like recess for grown-ups, except our playground involves getting dirty and epic obstacles,” reads promotional materials for the event.

The inaugural run is the brainchild of two London fitness trainers, Susannah Zawko and Mike Lovitt, who participate in similar challenges across the South and believe it’s time for Laurel County to have its own.

Wilderness Warrior is a combination race and obstacle run that will challenge competitors’ strength and endurance along the 5K course.

“We’re drawing up all the obstacles now,” said Lovitt, who is health and wellness coordinator for PT Pros. “It will go all the way around the perimeter of the fairgrounds, along the power line, up past Conley Road and circle back.”

Participants will have to crawl through mud, jump over logs, work their way through nets and tires, jump over water and carry weight up a hill, Lovitt said.

“It’s a good test of fitness, but we also plan to make it very safe,” he said.

The main obstacle course will be for adults. There will be a smaller course for children and races where they can win prizes.

“I am interested in doing an event that gives back to our community and is something the entire family can come out and be involved in,” said Zawko, who is owner of Elevate Fitness Studio in London. “It’s not just a target age group, we want something that kids can do. We’ll have food trucks and live music and just band together for our community.”

Proceeds from Wilderness Warrior will support two agencies that work with families; Benchmark Family Services, a therapeutic foster care agency and Cumberland Valley Children’s Advocacy Center.

The event will be an individual test of strength and endurance, but will also be a good team-building exercise for participants who want to work together, Zawko said.

“Lots of times you’ll have a group from work that wants to band together, and they all have their team names,” she said. “They train together and wear costumes. It’s a lot of fun.”

Zawko and Lovitt hope to have 500 entrants in the inaugural year and grow Wilderness Warrior in succeeding years. Sponsorship opportunities are available to businesses and individuals who want to support the event.

Early-bird registrations for Wilderness Warrior are $35. For more information and to register, go to:

London City Council Recognizes Three New Dept. Heads

London City Council recognized three new department heads Monday night, brought on by the retirements of Larry Vanhook and Derek House.

Carl Hacker, left, was named chief of the London Fire Department. He has been with the department for 32 years.

John Allen, center, was appointed chief of the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad, where he has served for 30 years.

Darrel Kilburn, right, was named chief of the London Police Department. He has been with the department since 2002, and previously served as assistant chief.

Mayor Rudder names Darrel Kilburn Chief of Police

On Friday, Feb. 1st, 2019, City of London Mayor Troy Rudder named Capt. Darrel Kilburn the new Chief of Police following the retirement of Derek House who served as Chief for five-and-a-half years. Kilburn began his service to the City of London as a Police Officer in 2003 and served as Captain for six years.

Chaplain and friend to Kilburn, Bob Combs, began the pinning ceremony at London City Hall on Friday with Mayor Troy Rudder, members of the London Police Department, family and friends. Combs prayed over Kilburn for wisdom, guidance and direction.

“We have all of the confidence in this man, we know that he’s trained for this job for years. We know he can do it and do it well.” Mayor Rudder said.

Darrel stated that he and the London Police Department needs the community’s continual support and prayers.

“My proudest achievement in this world is that I’m a Christian. I’ll do everything in my power to lead the best I can as a Christian, because God is going to come first in everything I do – to the best of my ability and family is second,” Kilburn said, adding, “It’s not “me,” it’s a “we” no matter what we do, we’re going to do it together.”

Inaugural New Year’s Eve Extravaganza

History was made Monday night at the inaugural New Year’s Eve Extravaganza in downtown London. The rain ended just in time and the temperature was about 60 as thousands of people watched a ball drop from 100 feet to ring in 2019.

Everyone had a great time thanks to the entertainment from DJ Larry Lee and Radio 80, along with food and beverages from a variety of vendors.

The event was sponsored by London Downtown, City of London Tourism and Wildcat-Harley Davidson. Organizers made notes about how to make the extravaganza bigger and better next year.

Blue Star Memorial Marker

A dedication was held Saturday for a Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Whitley Branch Veterans Park.

The marker is a tribute to the Armed Forces who have defended the United States of America, and has been used to salute veterans since World War II.

The Lady’s Slippers Garden Club of London procured the marker for the Veterans Park.

Optimist Club gets money for new gym floor

Replacing the gym floor has been on the wish list for the Laurel-London Optimist Club for some time. The cork-based floor was installed in 2001 and is deteriorating under heavy play at the gym on West Ky. 80.

City of London Tourism decided to step in and help with a $58,000 check presented Wednesday that will pay for a new sports floor made of durable plastic over a foam foundation. The tourism commission has been investing funds in the Optimist Club and Little League programs after an outside study said it should focus on improving existing sports facilities.

The Optimist Club provides a variety of sports and other programs for about 4,000 youths a year.

Pictured, from left, are Lawrence Foister and Plinio Tuta of the Optimist Club, London Mayor Troy Rudder and tourism chairman Bill Dezarn.

/* ]]> */