The City of Lincoln leads by example in the sustainability realm and encourages residents to follow suit. City departments make a variety of efforts to stay clean and green.
Mayor Chris Beutler made his commitment to sustainability in the community clear by establishing the Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative in 2009. The Mayor's Office has a list of accomplishments that are improving the quality of life in Lincoln, as well as saving money.
- Established the Mayor's Environmental Task Force with the mission of ensuring the City of Lincoln follows the best sustainable management practices.
- Diverted 74% of construction and demolition waste when the office relocated in 2010, saving $2,322 by recycling. WasteCap Nebraska's case study
- Signed an executive order banning the purchase of bottled water using City funds.
- The Building Subcommittee of the Mayor's Environmental Task Force audited 10 City buildings in 2008 based on energy consumption, water consumption, indoor air quality and recycling potential:
Mahoney Golf Course Clubhouse, Gere Library, 'F' Street Recreation Center, Fire Station #8, Water Building, Street Maintenance Garage, University Square Parking, Communications Building #2, Parks and Recreation Office, and Pershing Auditorium
Cleaner Greener Lincoln will upgrade lighting on several of these buildings to be more energy efficient as a result of these audits. Learn more on the Sustainable Lincoln page.
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department
The Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department (LLCHD) provides environmental public health programs for the community to improve air quality, water quality and waste management practices.
- The Household Hazardous Waste Program identifies opportunities for safe and legal disposal of pesticides, corrosive cleaners, toxic poisons and more. Mobile collections are offered throughout the year for community members to dispose of household hazardous waste. Recycling options for other materials may be found in the Lincoln-Lancaster County Waste Reduction and Recycling Guide.
- Safe Homes for Seniors assists older citizens with home assessments, safe storage advice, and proper disposal of household hazardous wastes via partnership with Aging Partners' Home Handymen program.
- Keep Lincoln and Lancaster County Beautiful (KLLCB) prevents litter, raises awareness of storm water drains and provides clean-up grants to the community. KLLCB newer program highlights include: a reusable bag pilot and a fireworks clean-up campaign; the Cleanest High School Campus; and the Lincoln Marathon litter pick-up.
- The comprehensive greenhouse gas emission inventory for Lincoln will allow the City to measure progress in reducing emissions to meet the Mayor's goal of reaching 1990 levels by 2015.
- LLCHD responds to spills and releases of potentially hazardous materials to prevent health risks and environmental contamination.
- LLCHD provides technical assistance and inspections to assure that industries pose minimal risk of illicit discharge to the stormwater system.
- A secure, protected bike storage in a downtown Lincoln parking garage provided by grant funds serves as an incentive to bicycle commuters.
- The annual Lincoln-Lancaster County Environmental Leadership Awards recognize businesses, organizations and individuals who demonstrate environmental stewardship and dedication to sustainable practices that improve air, land, and water quality while protecting public health.
Public Works & Utilities
- Replaced 84% of city traffic signals with longer-lasting LED bulbs, saving the city about $70,000 annually on energy costs (Cleaner Greener Lincoln is funding the LED replacement of the remaining traffic signals).
- Runs the Lincoln recycling program. The public drop-off sites collected 6,808 tons of materials in 2009.
- Creates compost out of biodegradable material and residential yard waste. This compost is available to the public for free (self-loading) and is also used for city landscaping projects.
- Organized free compact fluorescent light (CFL) recycling program at local hardware stores.
- Generates electricity from methane gas at the Theresa Street Wastewater Treatment Plant, saving Public Works and Utilities an estimated $125,000 per year.
- Developing the Landfill Gas Retrieval Project to capture methane from the Bluff Road Landfill for future energy use.
- Funding and assembling over 200 rain barrels and leading classes on rain barrel installation to support water conservation and reclamation through Watershed Management.
Parks and Rec
- Constructed a LEED Silver Prairie Building Addition to the Pioneers Park Nature Center. LEED certification projects demonstrate lower operating costs, a reduction in waste sent to the landfill, conservation of energy and water and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Installed energy-efficient LED lights in the American Legion Park (S. 26th and Randolph Streets) to demonstrate the use of an alternative and energy-reducing light source for park area lighting.
- Encouraged growth of natural plants in parks to reduce mowing, therefore fossil fuel consumption.
- Installed permeable pavers as part of the Sherman Field renovation project
- Developed a Stream Stability and Water Quality Project in Tyrell Park
- Bioretention and Silva Cells in Union Plaza
- Bioretention and Pervious Concrete and Bioswale in the Parks and Recreation Administration Office
- Photovoltaic cells, LED Lighting and energy efficient windows at the Jayne Snyder Trails Center
- Operates all 58 buses on biodiesel fuel. There are currently 13 hybrid buses and handivans in the fleet, and more hybrids will be introduced in the future.
- Bike racks are installed on every StarTran bus, making it easier for cyclists to get to their destinations.
Lincoln Public Schools
- Provides recycling in every LPS building.
- Includes "Garbology" in the 2nd grade curriculum, which teaches students about litter prevention and recycling.
- Offers "Zoo School", a science-based, holistic learning environment for high school students.