- Lincoln, Nebraska reached the one-year mark of its disposal ban on corrugated cardboard this month. City council members were informed the amount of corrugated cardboard in the city's landfill has decreased by 76% over this period, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star.
- Approximately 9.4% of the waste in the city's landfill was cardboard in 2017, compared with 2.4% last year. The Transportation and Utilities Department presented a report to the city council indicating the reduction has saved more than 239,000 trees, 30 million pounds of carbon emissions and 1.5 million gallons of gas.
- The additional cardboard recycling resources come at a financial cost to the city: Lincoln expects to pay approximately $900,000 a year to hauler Von Busch Refuse, and while part of this cost can be offset by the sale of cardboard, market changes have prompted lower prices. The city expects annual recyclables revenue to be $217,000, compared to $295,000 in FY17.
Marketing the landfill ban and educating residents about the new rules required time, money and effort on Lincoln's part — and the endeavor apparently worked so well that haulers saw an uptick in cardboard recycling even before the ban's official implementation. The city also helped commercial businesses with some of the start-up costs of creating new recycling programs required to achieve compliance with the law.
While Lincoln's recycling costs rose following the cardboard ban, the measure has helped to extend the life of the city's landfill. That, combined with the environmental benefits, is enough to prompt many in the community to deem it a success. Recycling rates for other items, including glass and paper, have also have risen — due in part to the cardboard ban encouraging citizens to recycle more overall, KOLN TV reports.
The program's success has city staff contemplating next steps — they've reportedly considered expanding the ban to other products, but no such plans have as yet been made public. With the city set to get a new mayor and new council members next month, any program alterations and additional landfill bans would likely be enacted further into the future.
In addition to cardboard, Lincoln has landfill bans on tires, auto batteries, appliances and seasonal yard waste – per state regulations.