Programs Save State Money and Help Clean up Kentucky
Frankfort, KY - In honor of Earth Week, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Steve Pence noted several of the environmentally friendly efforts taking place in the cabinet.
Lieutenant Governor Pence highlighted several programs, including:
The Office of Drug Control Policy has recently made great strides in trying to limit the number of methamphetamine labs in Kentucky. Meth is a highly addictive and deadly drug that also causes toxic waste. For every pound of the drug produced five to seven pounds of toxic waste is created. Everyday household products like antifreeze, drain cleaner, batteries, ammonia and other items are used to create the drug. Its production creates iodine, phosphine and hydrochloric acid waste. A new anti-meth law that the ODCP helped draft and push through the legislative process will restrict access to the key ingredient to make meth and should help reduce the number of meth labs in Kentucky.
The Kentucky State Police are a model for the U.S. through a federal COPS grant regarding elimination of hazardous waste related to meth labs. The chemicals are transported to one of several locations, one of 16 State Police Posts or Special Investigations Offices for example, and stored in containers until the waste can be eliminated.
The Western Kentucky Correctional Complex (WKCC) is home to a regional recycling center operated by Correctional Industries. In April 1994, Kentucky Correctional Industries began operation of a recycling center at WKCC. The recycling center was the result of a multi-agency cooperative effort to meet a state mandate to reduce landfill solid waste volume. Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall and Trigg counties worked together to form the Regional Recycling Corporation, which purchased the processing equipment, and in turn, share a portion of the revenue from the sale of recyclables. Recycled materials including newspaper, office paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum and steel cans are sorted, graded, and prepared for shipment to various end markets.
By recycling, the participating counties collectively save more than $25,000 in landfill fees each year. WKCC provides inmate labor to the Recycling Center and contributes materials such as cardboard, paper, steel, and aluminum cans.
The operation recycled 809 tons of material in 2004, including 330 tons of newspaper. Based on the accepted formula that one ton of newsprint equals 17 trees, the program saved 5,660 trees last year. The project also recycled 220 tons of cardboard.
Sales earned the program $69,400. Combined with the landfill savings, the program saved taxpayers $93,700 last year.
WKCC also provides inmate labor to the State Highway Department in Lyon County. These inmates are used to pick up trash and dead animals along the roadways of the county. Other agencies that utilize inmate labor for trash pick-up on a part-time basis are Crittenden and Lyon counties.
WKCC also operates a compost site where wet garbage (food waste) is collected from WKCC, the Kentucky State Penitentiary and various state parks in the area. This wet garbage is mixed with wood chips to produce compost which, when completed, is spread over fields at WKCC as a fertilizer to enrich the soil.
Kentucky Correctional Industries runs a computer-recycling program at the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington. The program started in November of 2004. Sixteen inmates refurbish old computers from state surplus property and sell the upgraded computers to schools, government agencies and the public. To date, about 350 computers have been refurbished and another 150 are waiting to be repaired. This program keeps computers out of landfills, as well as the toxic chemicals that can create environmental problems. Inmates are also learning valuable computer skills that may benefit them after they are released. They are enrolled in a program to become licensed computer technicians.
Every institution in Kentucky’s corrections system has some sort of recycling effort. Those programs include recycling batteries at Radio Shack, recycling waste oil with the help of the division of Forestry, recycling aluminum cans, scrap metal, printer cartridges and cardboard.
The Department of Juvenile Justice has created a Cadet Leadership and Education Program (CLEP) which is housed at its Breathitt County Detention Center. CLEP is a residential program for male juvenile offenders. This program has a junior ROTC military programming style, and the cadets in this program often perform a variety of community service projects. Eighteen cadets under the supervision of two mentors will participate in the Breathitt County Pride Earth Day activities April 21-23. These cadets will assist by picking up trash. Cadets from this program have participated in the Breathitt County Pride event for the past five years.
Kentucky prison and jail inmates also participate in roadside cleanup efforts. While exact numbers are hard to come by, The Department of Corrections has about 6,500 inmates housed in county jails. Those inmates perform more than four million hours of community service a year. If counties had hired workers at minimum wage to do this work, it would have cost them $28.6 million. Some of their labor is for county maintenance, lawn service and general repair, but much of the free labor is for roadside cleanup.
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