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By Becky Kuntzelman, The Imperial Republican

Each year on Nov. 15, thousands of events are held across the United States on “America Recycles Day” to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and offering personal pledges that can be signed, committing to recycling and buying products made from recycled materials.

The recycling center in Imperial provides recycling bins for disposing of glass, aluminum, steel and metal cans, plastics, magazines, newspapers, office paper and cardboard, said Jason Tuller, Community Development Director.

The recycling center is open 24 hours a day for convenience to the public. Both it and the transfer station operate under the direction of the Southwest Nebraska Solid Waste Agency.

The community is really committed to recycling, Tuller said.

At the annual Nebraska Recycling Council Awards Luncheon last month, Joe Francis with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) said, “Imperial is the best. Despite the low markets, distance to markets, low trash tipping rates and a small community, they are doing better than anyone else in the state. They are a great example of how a community can make recycling work.”

The main disadvantages for this area are the volume of recyclable material being a small community and finding places to send the material that aren’t too far away, said Tuller.

This problem is statewide for smaller communities. Despite this, Imperial is still doing really well, he said.

Another problem that occurs at the recycling center is that citizens throw trash away along with their recyclables which increases the cost of operations, he said.

The NDEQ’s mission is to protect the quality of Nebraska’s air, land and water resources.