Mayor Chris Beutler today welcomed 50 Lincoln public schools into the Recycle Lincoln Leadership Recognition Program. The City Recycling Office started the program to reward local organizations for their recycling and/or composting efforts.
Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) first started recycling in 1998, and all public schools have been recycling since 2002. To date, the LPS recycling program has kept more than 21.2 million pounds of material out of the landfill. In addition to recycling, the LPS cafeteria composting program was piloted in three schools in 2014 and is now implemented in 49 of the schools. Since the program began in 2014, more than 2.7 million pounds of organic material has been kept out of the landfill and composted instead.
"It's exciting to see these schools join the 14 other organizations that have already been recognized in the program," said Mayor Beutler. "The efforts of our schools have helped the entire community by increasing demand for composting services, and we hope these services will soon be available to all food service facilities in Lincoln. I encourage everyone to follow the great example set by the students, faculty and staff at our public schools who are making a real difference in our waste diversion efforts."
LPS Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel accepted the awards today on behalf of all the schools. Today's recognition event was held at Pound Middle School which has a 75-percent diversion rate, the second highest of all the schools. Pound has implemented a composting operation, collects plastic film from students and their families and integrates waste diversion efforts into the curriculum. The school won the Trex National Annual Recycling Challenge and received the first school-wide recycling award in the State from Keep Nebraska Beautiful.
Three other schools joined Pound in achieving the Gold-level designation by recycling or composting 60 to 89 percent of their waste. They are Wysong Elementary and Irving and Schoo Middle Schools.
The City awarded 31 Silver-level designations to these schools that recycle or compost 40 to 59 percent of their waste:
The City has awarded Bronze-level designations to the LPS District Offices and to 14 schools that recycle 20 to 39 percent of their waste:
A fourth designation that can be achieved is Zero Waste for diverting 90 percent of waste from the landfill.
Organizations with new or existing recycling programs are encouraged to apply to the Recycle Lincoln Leadership Recognition Program and showcase their recycling and composting efforts. More information and online applications are available at recycle.lincoln.ne.gov/recognition.