Communities can work towards Zero Waste. How? To be considered a Zero Waste community does not require achieving “absolute zero” to disposal, but it does require a total commitment to pursuing zero along these three paths:
EcoCycle’s Community Zero Waste Roadmap is a ten-year, three phase, 25-point plan that shows, step-by-step, how a community can transition from a world dominated by waste disposal to reach Zero Waste.
Pay As You Throw (PAYT) means that trash service is charged based on the “unit” of service provided rather than a set fixed fee. Paying for what you throw away gives a financial incentive to reduce waste and increase recycling. Most utilities charge for usage, why should trash service be any different? For an in-depth look at PAYT, visit the EPA’s dedicated site.
PayAsYouThrow.org is a source for information about how cities and towns can cut their trash by 40%-50% or more, save money, and help the environment.
The Guidebook for Community Adoption of Recycling and Pay and You Throw Ordinance includes guides on selecting a program, and model language and steps for implementing a PAYT ordinance.
Some items are hard to recycle because they are constructed with mixed or hazardous materials. Zero Waste infrastructure includes a “Center for HArd to Recycle Materials” (CHARM) to collect non-standard recyclable materials for processing.
There are federal and state regulations for disposal of hazardous wastes that could be harmful to human health or the environment.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities in Nebraska
Grand Island Area Clean Community System
Red Willow County HHW Facility
Keep North Platte and Lincoln County Beautiful
Under the Sink
The major components of C&D waste include concrete, wood, metal, asphalt, brick and stone, which can be recycled into other useful materials. In Nebraska, 70-80% of trash loads entering the municipal waste stream contained C&D materials (DEQ 2009).
Statewide: Nebraska Materials Exchange
Bellevue: Habitat Home Store– Habitat for Humanity Sarpy County
Fremont: Habitat for Humanity HomeStore (402) 721-8771
Grand Island: Habitat for Humanity ReStore (308) 385-5082
One of the best ways to reduce waste is to reuse. Many communities have thrift stores that sell gently used items. For stores in your area, look at the Nebraska Recycling Guide.
The Nebraska Materials Exchange Program encourages businesses and manufacturers across Nebraska to review disposal costs and examine the management of their waste products. Good, usable materials no longer needed can be listed in the Materials Exchange Program. Nearly 2 million pounds of materials are exchanged every month–from containers, plastics, and electronics to pallets, food, and construction materials.