Recycling proposal stirs conversation at Lincoln City Council

Brent BonFleur

A proposal to increase recycling in Lincoln was proposed to the City Council.

The program would require waste haulers to offer curbside recycling services to customers, divert corrugated cardboard and other paper products away from the landfill, and increase capacity at the city’s free recycling drop off sites.

A 2008 study showed that cardboard and the paper products accounted for 28% of the waste being put into the landfill.

Supporters say diverting that material would extend the life of the landfill

"I hope it doesn’t stop at cardboard.  The way to help the landfill progress even longer is to start adding glass and tin and other products."

The second phase of the proposal would implement a community-wide recycling education campaign in an effort to increase the city’s overall recycling rate, which is low compared to similar-sized cities.

Still, questions remain: like how the program will be enforced.

"People ask, ‘are you going to dig through my trash? Are you going to give me a ticket?’ the answer to that is no and no," said John Carlson with Lincoln Public Works.

Other questions were raised, one by Roy Christensen with the Lincoln City Council.

"What I’ve heard you say is there’s no intention to enforce them, so do you think it’s good policy to set up penalties with no intention to enforce them," asked Christensen.

There’s also the economic impact to consider. For example, how to make up for the lost income the landfill will experience.

The cost for the program has been estimated at $0.85 cents per person per year.

The city council is expected to vote on the recycling proposal on August 1st.