Mayor Chris Beutler joined recycling advocates in kicking off a new campaign to educate residents how on how to “recycle right.” The “Be a Recycling Champion” initiative is aimed at reducing the number of unacceptable items that are tossed into recycling bins. The campaign is funded with a $68,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
“We know our residents care about recycling,” Mayor Beutler said at a news conference at the Mid America Recycling processing facility. “They understand the environmental benefits of conserving resources and the importance of extending the life of the landfill. But we also know that people have many questions about how to recycle right. This campaign is aimed at answering those questions and giving our residents the information they need to ‘Be a Recycling Champion.’”
The campaign urges the public to take three steps to a “Be a Recycling Champion”:
- Follow the basics by recycling paper, cardboard, tin and aluminum cans, and plastic bottles and tubs.
- Learn the recycling guidelines by visiting recycle.lincoln.ne.gov.
- Remember that many curbside recyclers do not accept plastic bags or glass bottles. To make sure these stay out of the landfill, take clean plastic bags to local grocers and take glass bottles and jars to one of the public drop off sites.
The City and recycling collectors see a wide variety of unacceptable items in curbside containers and at the 29 public drop off sites. Those include non-recyclable items such as Styrofoam and metal cookware as well as cans and bottles with food and drink residue. Other problems are broken glass in curbside containers and plastic bags that can cause problems with machinery at processors.
“Unacceptable materials will be sorted out by processors and landfilled,” said Kent Kurtzer of Kurtzer Brothers Refuse, who is on the Board of the Lincoln Solid Waste and Recycling Association. “This is the complete opposite of what we want to accomplish.”
As part of the campaign participating curbside recycling collectors will leave notes on recycling containers listing the unacceptable items residents have place in them. Their curbside recycling subscribers will also receive a postcard encouraging them to recycle right.
“The theme ‘Be a Recycling Champion’ reflects our desire to do what is right and to do the best we can to help make Lincoln a cleaner, greener City,” said City Council member Jane Raybould, who is in management with B & R Stores. “Most grocers like ours have containers at the front of the stores to collect plastic shopping and dry cleaning bags; produce, bread and food storage bags; and wrappers from paper products. When these are processed, they are mixed with sawdust to produce Trex Lumber, a great building material.”
As part of the campaign, local champions are features in a series of PSAs. The recycle.lincoln.ne.gov website has also been updated to include more information on how to recycle right; a list of current recycling collectors and their website information; and a recycling champion quiz.
The City’s Earth Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at Union Plaza will feature a “Be a Recycling Champion” exhibit at the Jayne Snyder Trail Center. More information on the celebration is available at lincolnearthday.org.