Nebraska Recycling Council’s programs center on building systems for efficient, economic and environmentally beneficial materials management. We are working to re-energize recycling in Nebraska by networking directly with businesses, elected officials, community leaders and service providers to deliberate on how we can create the future we want by sharing resources and working together. E-newsletters, workshops, webinars and networking events, waste assessments, technical assistance and our online Nebraska Recycling Guide are cornerstones of the support we provide.
Whether a business is just starting a recycling program, looking to enhance their current waste reduction and resource management, or becoming a Zero Waste Certified facility, the Nebraska Resource Council is here to help. NRC received funding from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Lincoln to produce resource guides for businesses. From easy how-to guides and case studies to more comprehensive reports for zero waste, these practical guides will assist in implementing waste reduction plans. The guides will be made available this year, followed by a set of webinars and Talk & Tours to network businesses and assist in peer-to-peer education.
NRC’s Zero Waste Community Roadmap Project began in 2013 with funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust working with five communities throughout Nebraska including Imperial, Wayne, Broken Bow, Louisville, and Hastings. We assisted in bringing together community leaders to develop strategies for reducing waste through policy, infrastructure, and education. This work continues with grant funding from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, building on the progress toward zero waste and working with our newest community, South Sioux City.
Cooperative resource management agreements can help businesses save on waste disposal costs, add new services such as composting, and create better efficiencies in waste management. Working with the City of Lincoln and the Downtown Lincoln Association, we were able to assist six downtown Lincoln businesses in developing shared waste and recycling programs. The project was made possible by a Waste Reduction & Recycling Grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
For more than 17 years, the Nebraska Environmental Trust has funneled Nebraska Lottery funds through our organization to provide small grants for recycling equipment. To date, more than $2,744,000 in grant funds has been distributed. Nonprofits, communities and for-profit businesses are eligible to apply for these quick turn-around grants of up to $15,000. The grants have enabled rural and urban communities across Nebraska to divert thousands of tons of materials from our landfills and send them to end-markets to be made into useful items once again.
Also funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, we are able to help communities solve some of their recycling dilemmas through phone or in-person consultation.
Small communities often struggle to maintain their recycling programs because they neither have the volumes or infrastructure that will provide a good return on investment. In 2016, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality funded a one-year program that will reimburse five communities for recycling related expenses. Each participating community is required to work on a business plan to analyze their existing system and, with our research and guidance, develop a more sustainable program. Program participants are Avoca, Curits, David City, Morrill and Neligh.