- Associated Press - Thursday, December 19, 2019

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky county may lose its curbside recycling service as its main provider struggles under increasing processing costs.

Warren County is trying to determine how to move forward if Southern Recycling stops service before its contract is scheduled to end this summer, Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon told the Bowling Green Daily News on Wednesday.

The company loses up to $50,000 a month by picking up residents’ recyclables, Southern Recycling President Rob Rutherford said. He said it costs more to process the materials than the company can make from them. Southern Recycling sorts materials locally rather than in an industrial-size plant, the company said. A magnetic separation system would exceed what it would be able to recoup at $10 million, Rutherford added.

Local customers pay $2.65 a month for the service but that would rise to up to $18 a month to support current expenses.

China restricted its import of paper, plastic and other recyclables in 2018, causing global scrap prices to plummet. Many waste-hauling companies passed the cost of sorting and baling recyclables on to municipalities, prompting communities to downsize or suspend curbside recycling programs altogether.



Buchanon said the county is “actively searching” for alternatives and hopes to find a solution soon. “We’d hate to give up what has been considered a model program in Kentucky,” he told the newspaper.

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