Posts Tagged 'recycling'

The story of a dog, a dead rabbit and a plastic bag

We did a little science experiment in our yard, unexpectedly, thanks to the laws of nature and survival of the fittest a while back that we came across last week.

A little background:

About a year ago, our aging dog managed to kill a rabbit and eat about half of it before my husband called her off it.

He brought her in the house, where she promptly threw up, right in front of the fridge and my daughter.

As she stood over the steaming pile of blood, bone and guts exclaiming “eeeww” repeatedly, my husband swore, then cleaned up the mess and buried the remains (including the part the dog didn’t eat that was still in the back yard) in a plastic grocery bag behind our shed. He marked the spot so we would know where it was.

Fast-forward a year.

While digging a new compost area last week, he dug up the bag that had contained the remains of the rabbit. Guess what?

The rabbit was gone, completely decomposed and turned to dust.

And the bag?

Completely intact. And I mean completely intact. It had decayed not one little bit.

So please, ponder that the next time you’re in the grocery store or anywhere else they are likely to give you a plastic bag. That bag, which took chemicals to create, will be around for a very, very long time.

— Linda J.


Tour Lexington’s recycling center, win a recycled bench

This just in from the city:

Lexington’s Department of Environmental Quality and the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission invite you to celebrate America Recycles Day by participating in a tour of the city’s newly improved recycling center.
Earlier this year, a new, 10,000-square-foot tension fiber structure that receives recyclable materials was added to the city’s recycling center. The structure adds capacity of 600 tons of recyclables.
New equipment has been installed to speed the recycling process and allow for glass to be mixed with other recyclables in Rosie containers.
Tours of the recycling center will be offered on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. Citizens interested in touring the center should RSVP by calling LexCall at 311, or 425-2255. Lexington’s Recycling Center is located at 360 Thompson Road.
Another way to celebrate America Recycles Day is to take the America Recycles Day Pledge. Visit and fill out the electronic pledge card.
Lexington residents who participate will have their name entered in a drawing for a bench made from recycled plastic jugs by Play Mart, valued at approximately $400. Plastic jugs placed in Rosie containers by Lexington residents are sent to Play Mart, located in Somerset, Ky.
Since 1997, communities across the country have observed America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs.
The Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission, a 13-member group, has been appointed to focus attention on litter prevention, beautification and community improvement and waste reduction.
For more information on the Commission, go to

Have a drink with Ted Turner; help green the WEG

Ted Turner is teaming up with Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear to help make the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games a little bit greener.

On Saturday, they will hold a cocktail reception from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort with area chefs and wineries to help raise money for “Greening the Games” projects. The suggested contribution is $500. The money will go to efforts to buy permanent recycling bins for the Kentucky Horse Park and to install more native landscaping along Cane Run Creek, which runs through the park.

Participating chefs include Ouita Michel of Holly Hill Inn in Midway; Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville; Jonathan Gossett of Dudley’s and Jeremy Ashby of Azure, both in Lexington; Mark Bodenstein of Chalk Food + Wine in Covington; and Jeff Newman of Boone Tavern & Hotel in Berea.

Wineries include Ruby Moon, Lovers Leap, Elk Creek, Wight Meyer and Stone Brook. Alltech beer will also be represented as well as Buffalo Trace bourbon and vodka for making Black-eyed Susans in honor of the Preakness.

For tickets or for more information, please contact Carol Hanley at

3.7 million aluminum cans recycled in Lexington in October

This from Cheryl Taylor, Lexington’s Commissioner of Environmental Quality:

More than 3.7 million aluminum cans were collected in Fayette County during October’s Cans for Cash aluminum beverage can recycling contest. This number includes cans collected at the curb, cans dropped off at the city’s recycling center, and at other recycling centers.

This is the fourth year that Lexington has participated in the US Mayors’ Cans for Cash recycling contest. Lexington won the national contest for Most Innovative Ideas in 2006 and 2008 in the large city category and received a monetary prize for winning both years. Results of this year’s national contest will be announced in January, 2010.

Lexington’s efforts were coordinated by the Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community, which is a partnership between the University of Kentucky, Fayette County Public Schools, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and other community partners such as Bluegrass PRIDE, the Tracy Farmer Institute of Sustainability and the Environment and Wise Recycling.

In addition to the public, 20 Fayette County schools — both public and private — participated in the contest. Altogether, the schools recycled more than 157,000 cans, some 40,000 more cans than last year.

Wise Recycling, Baker Iron and Metal, Gordon Scrap and Iron, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government contributed monetary prizes to the nine local schools that collected and recycled the highest number of cans per student in their respective size category.

Schools were also paid — by the pound — for the cans they recycled through Wise Recycling, Baker Iron and Metal, and Gordon Scrap and Iron.

Schools earning certificates and prize amounts won are:

Ashland Elementary School ($1250)
Picadome Elementary School ($1250)
Montessori Middle School ($1250)
Cardinal Valley Elementary School ($1,000)
Dixie Elementary School ($1,000)
Lexington Day Treatment Center ($1,000)
Christ the King School ($750)
Lexington Universal Academy ($750)
Veteran’s Park Elementary School ($750)

Schools earning certificates are:

Athens-Chilesburg Elementary School
Booker T Washington School Academy
Cassidy Elementary School
Henry Clay High School
Jessie Clark Middle School
Lafayette High School
Mill Creek Elementary School
The Learning Center (TLC)
Lexington Christian Academy Junior High
Providence Montessori School
Sayre School

What’s blue, and now red, and smells like french fries?

At the University of Kentucky, cooking oil from the dining rooms is sold to a refiner for conversion to bio-diesel fuel. Some is repurchased for campus vehicles.
Now, the University of Louisville is doing its own refining.
Here’s the press release:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Used cooking oil from campus restaurants at the University of Louisville is helping to fuel a campus shuttle bus in a research-based recycling pilot program.

Eric Berson, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and students at Speed School of Engineering are converting spent oil from Sodexo Inc., UofL’s campus food-service provider, into biodiesel fuel that can be blended to power a UofL-owned bus shuttling Belknap Campus students.

Initial tests have been successful in the effort to turn a waste material into a useful product and to demonstrate campus sustainability, Berson said. The project also is an example of research at UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship.

The first shuttle runs have been on a blend of about 5 percent biodiesel, although the mixture may be adjusted up to 10 percent to 20 percent later.

Oil drained from food fryers is filtered and loaded into a laboratory processing tank for three days of chemical cleaning, processing and settling between steps. The process involves stringent testing under ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) standards, and the effort to cleanse the final product of impurities involves a dry-wash system that eliminates waste water used in some other processes. Recently purchased equipment allows the group to run the experiments on a bigger scale – about 50 gallons at a time.

Preliminary work to run test batches on a small scale began last year with chemical engineering undergraduate Kelly Nicholson of Louisville, now a master’s student. Sean Miller of Eastview, a junior chemical engineering student, now oversees the process as part of his engineering co-op – one of three alternating semesters that Speed requires to complete a master’s degree. Amlan Chakraborty of India, a chemical engineering doctoral student, also works on the project.

Future research on the project will include converting waste glycerin to methane for electricity generation and exploring solid-based, reusable catalysts, Berson said.