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City of Lincoln
Solid Waste Disposal

What We Throw Away


Reduce, reuse, recycle. Why bother? We live such a chaotic lifestyle we need convenience to get everything accomplished in our families' daily lives. There are many reasons. Here are two:

Things Don't Decompose in the Landfill

We are building a mountain of garbage at the Bluff Road Landfill in northeast Lancaster County. The Bluff Road Landfill opened in October 1988. Since that time, over six million tons of garbage have been buried there. These photos show garbage that has been buried in the Bluff Road Landfill for 22 years. It was dug up while the City was drilling landfill gas recovery wells to capture methane gas generated from the waste.


Green grass and copy of a Thursday, May 18, 1989, Lincoln Journal Star

Saturday, July 8, 1989, Lincoln Journal Star

Millions of Dollars of Resources are Disposed of Each Year

In fiscal year 2010-2011, Lincoln and Lancaster County residents and businesses disposed of 304,918 tons of municipal solid waste. Nearly half of that (141,390 tons) was readily recyclable material. It cost over $2.9 million to dispose of this material in the landfill. Yet, these materials have a real secondary market value. Based on the average value recyclers were paying for these recyclables in the Midwest, an estimated $16.4 million could have been introduced into our local economy.

Can we continue to waste resources such as these by burying them in the landfill instead of recycling them?

Total Est. Recyclables Disposed by Lancaster Co. Residents in FY 2009-2010

Type of Material Percent of Municipal Solid Waste Tons of Material Disposed by Lancaster County Residents Recycled Material Index Prices March 2011* (tons) Estimated Value
Cardboard 9.5% 28,924 $125.00 $ 3,615,488
Paper/Linerboard 4.8% 14,599    
Office Paper 4.9% 14,812 $ 75.00 $ 1,110,879
Newsprint 5.1% 15,602 $ 55.00 $ 858,137
Magazines 3.9% 11,770 $ 75.00 $ 882,772
Plastic Containers
PET #1 3.0% 8,972 $ 160.00 $ 1,435,550
HDPE #2 1.5% 4,623 $ 160.00 $ 739,673
Other Plastics 3.1% 9,550    
Clear Glass Containers 2.3% 7,087 $ 10.00 $ 70,865
Brown Glass Containers 1.2% 3,650 $ 5.00 $ 18,249
Green Glass Containers 0.5% 1,490 $ 2.00 $ 2,981
Aluminum Cans 1.0% 3,041 $ 1,360.00 $ 4,136,331
Tin Cans 1.5% 4,684 $ 75.00 $ 351,284
Totals   128,804 TOTAL $13,222,208

Solid Waste Disposal