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New Solid Waste Plan Could Include Plastic Bag Ban, Food Waste Pickup

Louisville’s solid waste board is set to vote on the city’s five-year plan at the end of this month. If it passes, residents could see changes in how their trash is handled and recycled.The plan includes three big ideas: banning plastic bags for use with yard waste, allowing citizens to place food scraps at the curb for composting and setting hard limits on how much trash can be thrown out—and charging extra for more trash.Solid Waste Advisory Committee member Sarah Lynn Cunningham has been critical of the board in the past. She calls this five-year plan a “quantum leap” from what’s been proposed in the past, which she partially attributes to a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant designed to increase recycling.“I believe that any of those ideas could be made to work if we were willing to design the particular program well and if we were willing to staff it well and if we were willing to enforce it,” she said. “Those are three big ‘ifs.’”Cunningham says some thought also needs to be paid to how the ideas are presented, with an emphasis on what people value.“We need to say ‘the city is spending a lot of extra tax dollars from the use of plastic yard waste bags. So in order to save the taxpayers ‘x’ number of dollars per year, we’re going to take this initiative.”The board will vote on the plan on October 30.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.