Mayor Chris Beutler announced today that the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) has awarded two grants totaling $303,281 to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD). The Community-Driven Toxics Reduction Program was awarded $149,265 to help develop a facility for year-round hazardous waste recycling and disposal. The Nebraska MEDS Disposal Program was awarded $154,016 for its work to provide convenient, safe and legal disposal options for unwanted medications.
"The goal of both of these programs is to keep harmful chemicals out of our landfill and out of our water supply," Mayor Beutler said. "Our Health Department has done an excellent job organizing special events to collect these wastes, but we need to develop a more permanent solution to handle these chemicals and protect public health."
With the grant funds for the Toxics Reduction Program, LLCHD will coordinate a facility site analysis to look at options for locating a hazardous waste collection facility on City property. The Solid Waste Master Plan Advisory Committee has recommended expansion of the Toxics Reduction Program and the creation of a facility for year-round access.
With the grant funds for the MEDS Disposal Program, LLCHD will partner with local pharmacies and law enforcement agencies and work with similar projects across the state. The program is currently implementing a pharmacy-led "product stewardship" model in which producers manage the environmental impact of a product from the time of its creation through its disposal. The draft Solid Waste Master Plan identifies product stewardship as a strategic option for source reduction. More information on the program is available at leftovermeds.com.
The Nebraska Legislature created the NET in 1992 to preserve, protect and restore natural resources for future generations. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $213 million in grants to over 1,600 projects across the state. More information is available at environmentaltrust.org.