Local leaders agreed to provide a 25 percent in-kind match. Epperson said he received a verbal confirmation of the grant's approval in June.
Under the program, all recyclable materials can be placed into a single bin at local schools. The Bluegrass Regional Recycling Corporation, which hauls away materials from Winchester Municipal Utilities' recycling center, will take the material to facilities in Lexington or Madison County for sorting.
Epperson said officials want to test the program on the schools. If successful, the project may be expanded to include the families of students and eventually the entire community, using schools as neighborhood recycling centers.
Epperson reasoned that the program will help reduce waste, save money and create a potential revenue source for schools. He said the recycled material is sold on the market, and Bluegrass Recycling will return a portion of the money to schools if the right kinds of materials are collected.
"It will be self-supporting. The school will not have to pay anything," he said.
Expanded recycling has remained a topic of pubic discussion for years and is listed as a goal in the Clark County Community Action Plan.
Although WMU already maintains a drop-off center, the utility does not provide expanded pick-up or curbside services, and WMU officials are organizing a task force to study the potential for broader recycling efforts.
Overall, Epperson said, Clark County is ahead of many communities in the state, and the new program will serve as the next best option to curbside collection. He was not aware of any other school system in Kentucky offering a similar program.
"There are counties that do little or no recycling, quite honestly," he said. "We are in the middle there somewhere. We don't do as good as Louisville or Lexington or even Richmond and a few other places, but we do much better than probably most of the state."
A final date to begin the program remains uncertain, but Epperson plans to start delivering dumpsters to one school at a time this fall.
He said recycling is an important part of conservation efforts.
"We are a throwaway society, and there are so many things we throw away that take resources and energy to manufacture," said Epperson. "If we can recycle these things, then ultimately we are going to save a lot of the plant's resources."
Contact Mike Wynn at email@example.com.