Map It

Map City Services

Enter an address:
(e.g., 410 S Fifth Street)


Public Works & Assets Newsroom

Wet-Dry Pilot to Dramatically Increase Recycling

Monday March 31, 2014

Mayor Greg Fischer today officially launched a pilot program that is expected to increase recycling rates in Louisville’s Central Business District to about 85 percent among locations serviced by the city. The current recycling rate is just 11 percent.

The large boost in recycling will be made possible by a switch to a “Wet-Dry” sorting system that will prevent most “dry” recyclable materials from being mixed with or spoiled by “wet” materials that are not recyclable.

Wet waste includes things like food, liquids and used paper towels, the kinds of things generated in break rooms and restrooms. Dry waste is just about everything else—paper, plastic, glass and the like. Dry waste is most of what businesses generate, and up to 90 percent of it can be recycled instead of put in the landfill.

There is a special component of the pilot specifically for restaurants and coffee shops, which have a higher proportion of wet waste.

The voluntary Wet-dry pilot is part of Fischer’s plan to increase recycling in Louisville by 25 percent by next year and divert at least half of the city’s solid waste away from the landfill by 2025. The long term goal is to divert 90 percent of waste from the landfill by 2042.

This pilot was developed by the mayor's Innovation Delivery Team, which is funded by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. It begins a year after the city’s Office of Sustainability released the Sustain Louisville plan aimed at generating environmentally sound programs and policies. “This new program gets us moving in high gear toward the goal of delivering a clean and prosperous city to future generations,” Fischer said.

The Solid Waste Management Services Division of Louisville’s Department of Public Works has teamed with QRS Recycling to create and manage the pilot. Vanessa Burns, Director of Public Works, explained that businesses will put wet waste in black plastic bags and put dry waste in clear plastic bags or directly into their orange carts. Both bag types will be put out in a single orange garbage cart that will be taken to QRS’s recycling facility for processing.

Restaurants will put food waste in special brown carts that will be kept in their kitchen areas. Dry waste from restaurants will go into orange carts just like at other businesses. Detailed information about the Wet-dry recycling program is at