State Recycling Center Improves Efficiency with Equipment Upgrades

A panorama view of the new equipment at KGRS (left to right) the tipper, conveyor, grinder and bailer. Photo by Melinda Meredith.

The Kentucky Government Recycling Section (KGRS) recently invested $326,000 to upgrade equipment at its paper-processing facility located in Frankfort. The facility handles mixed office paper, white paper, newsprint and corrugated cardboard from state agencies and state universities across the Commonwealth. The service not only provides cost savings for shredding confidential documents, it also ensures benefits such as energy savings inherent to recycling.

“KGRS is a revenue-generating program and part of the proceeds from the sale of recycled materials allowed us to purchase the new equipment,” said Brian Bentley, KGRS Supervisor. “Our equipment was outdated and we spent countless hours repairing various components. The new equipment, which includes a conveyor-grinder-baler system, will go a long way in improving the efficiency of our operation.”

In 1978, Kentucky State Government was mandated to recycle office paper and as a result, the State Government Recycling Program was created in the early 1980s. The program is administered by the Department for Environmental Protection’s Division of Waste Management and despite challenges with faulty equipment and understaffing; the program has always managed to provide the required recycling services to state offices.

“In its 30-year history, the recycling program has become an integral part of working for state government,” said Gary Logsdon, Recycling and Local Assistance Branch Manager. “We strive to improve our program and facility in any way possible. Now that we have resolved some of the equipment issues, we’d like to build up our staff and provide more promotional opportunities.”

KGRS is comprised of seven full-time employees and currently utilizes approximately two Governmental Service Program workers. KGRS staff not only provide weekly collection and confidential document destruction to state agencies within Frankfort, they also work in the recycling facility sorting materials and placing them in appropriate collection containers where they are shredded, baled and loaded for sale to a paper recycling company. The staff and facility also accommodate materials from outside the Frankfort service area.

“The main advantage of the program is that the money generated by KGRS goes to support the operation rather than using taxpayer dollars,” said Bentley. Additionally, this program saves the state money by avoiding disposal costs and eliminating the need for outside shredding services.”

In 2012, KGRS recycled approximately 2,784,291 lbs. of paper and generated $308,687.69 in proceeds from the sale of recyclables.

White office paper, collected from state offices, awaits grinding and baling. Photo by Gary Logsdon.
White office paper, collected from state offices, awaits grinding and baling. Photo by Gary Logsdon.

Besides being a legislative requirement (KRS 224.10-650), KGRS certainly justifies its need for resources and personnel. The program will no doubt continue to meet the current demands of document shredding and paper recycling, and it will most likely increase the volume of paper to be recycled as well.

“Currently, KGRS provides training and a packet of recycling information to all new employees in the Labor, Energy and Environment and Public Protection Cabinets,” said Bentley. “We hope to expand the training to other Cabinets so that all state employees become educated about the need and logistics of recycling and about how each individual can become involved in our program.”

“As more and more agencies realize the financial and environmental benefits of recycling, KGRS will expand its services,” said Logsdon. “Fortunately, new equipment and revived support are underway.”

For more information about the state recycling program and about KGRS, please visit http://waste.ky.gov/RLA/recycling/Pages/OfficePaperRecycling.aspx.

A bale of shredded white office paper ready to be shipped to a paper mill for recycling. Photo by Gary Logsdon.
A bale of shredded white office paper ready to be shipped to a paper mill for recycling. Photo by Gary Logsdon.
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