June 2023

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SWANA Training Opportunity

NRC has 6 scholarships available to the SWANA training course "Managing Recycling Systems" that will be hosted 7/19-7/21 at University of Nebraska-Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska.


Perfect for facility owners, operators, supervisors, and employees involved in the daily operation of a recycling facility, this course will provide in-depth training on successfully planning, developing, marketing, and managing recycling programs. The course will also address collection, processing, application of end-use standards and protection of human health and the environment. Included in the scholarship is the 3 day training course, access to the online certification exams, and a year long membership to SWANA.


To apply, please send a letter of interest to mferber@nrcne.org by 6/15/23. 

Reminder for NRC Members

By Maddie Ferber


Don't forget to take advantage of membership benefits and services like:


- Technical assistance

- Waste reduction assistance and recommendation reports

- Featured article in NRC newsletter

- Discounts on Recyclingmarkets.net and Retrofit

- Discounted tickets to NRC events and vendor booths



And more! Contact Program Director Maddie Ferber at membership@nrcne.org to learn more!

Chadron Recycling Flows to Keep Alliance Beautiful on Gold Rush Highway

CSC student Joe Talley assists a local resident on May 20 as a Keep Alliance Beautiful trailer fills during Chadron's first community recycling collection since the pandemic.

By John E. Weare

Keep Alliance Beautiful


G.O. Thompson turned left onto U.S. Highway 385, leaving Chadron on May 20 with a green Keep Alliance Beautiful (KAB) trailer filled to the brim. The northwest Nebraska community, for the first time since the Covid 19 pandemic, had found a dependable outlet for its recycling.

Materials collected during the initial public event this spring had been handled by SWANN (Solid Waste Agency of NW Nebraska). Interest in resuming public recycling services simmered the past three years as Chadron, Crawford and others along the Pine Ridge have instead driven as far as Alliance, Neb. and Rapid City, S.D. With roll-off containers unavailable, Keep Chadron Beautiful maintained efforts to collect corrugated cardboard and white/office paper.

The current arrangement between KAB, KCB and invested community members gelled at a packed public meeting in Chadron April 25 hosted by KCB Director Susan Hucke, KAB Executive Director Kathy Worley and Chadron State College student Joe Talley of Vermillion, S.D. Talley’s concern proved to be the missing catalyst to seriously address hometown recycling. As Chadron missed its roll-off containers, campus recycling trailers were untended.

Grass roots commitment, expressed as nearly 50 people (equivalent to 1 percent of the town’s population) filled the Platte Valley Companies community center, was evident weeks later as a steady stream of vehicles arrived for the first collection. A man who had attended the meeting brought his baler that makes 25-pound bricks from aluminum cans for more efficient transport.

On Monday morning, May 22, KAB processed about 3,000 pounds, according to employee estimates, from the enclosed trailer in the Keep America Beautiful affiliate’s recycling center. Keep Chadron Beautiful had already delivered two weekly loads of cardboard. The KCB driver and KAB staff baled corrugated and fiberboard cardboard that filled the trailer and his pickup bed, representing about 30 cubic yards (pre-compaction) on each trip. “The Nebraska Bank parking lot was the perfect place to hold the event,” Worley said, “visible to passersby, with plenty of room for the participants, and lots of shade for volunteers. Thank you Chadron for bringing your recycling.”

Keep reading...

Handling Asbestos Safely

Information provided by: The Mesothelioma Center


Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have been used in many consumer products in the past, such as auto parts, building materials, cement, electrical parts, and insulation. Asbestos causes mesothelioma, lung cancer and other cancers.


How to Identify Asbestos


The only way to identify asbestos is through lab testing or professional inspection. Asbestos fibers have no smell or taste.


How to Handle and Recycle Asbestos


Asbestos is a deadly carcinogen that should only be handled by license asbestos abatement professionals. To find licensed abatement firms and inspectors in Nebraska, click here.


In the United States, asbestos recycling is not available to the general public. Currently the cost of recycling asbestos is about three times that of traditional disposal in special landfills designated to receive asbestos waste. To recycle asbestos, it can receive microwave thermal treatments or be milled at high speed heats to create non-hazardous materials like glass or porcelain. This process is not cheap nor simple.


For more information about asbestos safety and proper disposal of asbestos, check out these resources:


NDEE Focus on Air: Asbestos

Guide to Handling, Disposing, and Recycling Asbestos

Compost Corner:

Understanding Soil Amendments

By Carina Olivetti


Do you know the difference between soil amendments? Do you want to improve the health of your soil? Soil amendments can be used to top dress the soil surface, applied with a cover crop, added to potting mixes, and mixed into the soil if necessary. When possible use no-till practices.  Having your soil tested is a great first step before choosing which soil amendment to use.  

Always remember to research which material is best suited to the needs of your specific project. Each material has benefits and preferred usage. 


Nebraska Recycling Council created this infographic for your use.  pdf version

Additional resources:

Soil Amendment fact sheet (Colorado State University, 2013)


Nebraska Recycling Feedlot Composting Project


Citations:

EPA https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home#:~:text=for%20future%20use.-

,Benefits%20of%20Using%20Your%20Finished%20Compost,amendment%20or%20as%20a%20mulch


https://www.lincoln.ne.gov/City/Departments/LTU/Utilities/Solid-Waste-Management/Facilities-and-

Services/Biochar


https://water.unl.edu/category/animal-manure-management


https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/project-transforming-manure-mulch-from-waste-to-

worth/

CSU https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/choosing-a-soil-amendment/

MW https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary


Washed Ashore

By: Maddie Ferber


If you visited Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens in the last few months, you were likely greeted by a variety of impressive, intricate sculptures from the Washed Ashore exhibit. Made from volunteer collected beach plastic, these enormous sculptures stood alongside a display of commonly recycled items and how to properly recycle them. From a distance, the sculptures are vibrantly colored and evoke a sense of whimsy and fun in the gardens, but closer examination reveals the harsh reality of plastics – when they escape into the environment, they can cause a lot of harm. 

According to IUCN 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year and 14 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean every year. With 14,000 volunteer hours and 60,000 lbs of plastic processed into these incredible sculptures, items that were originally purchased because they were cheap and convenient suddenly seem much less convenient. Inviting you to take a closer look, it’s easy to understand how the brightly colored plastic pieces would entice ocean creatures to engage with the debris, getting tangled in nets, and consuming smaller pieces. While beautiful, the Washed Ashore exhibit drives home the reminder of how important it is to reduce our consumption of plastics products, reuse items when possible, and recycle when the item has reached the end of its life.

Events

Webinar: Making an Actionable Plan

Busch Systems

Tuesday June 13, 2023 at 12:00 noon CST

Register here!


Workshop: Build Your Zero Waste Purchase Powers

Green Education.Us

June 21, 2023, 8:00-10:00 a.m. CST

*Note: NRC members can receive $10 off by entering promo code "NRCTENOFF"

Purchase here!


Free Composting Demonstration

June 24, 2023, 10:00 am

Pioneer's Park Nature Center

Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County


Webinar: Plastics and the Future of Our Planet: A Conversation with Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert

Beyond Plastics

Wednesday July 12, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. CST

Register here!


Resource Recycling Conference

Orlando, Florida

August 14-16, 2023


*SAVE THE DATE!*

NRC Fall Conference 2023

Tuesday, September 19 in Lincoln, Nebraska

Register here!

Resources and Articles of Interest

Recycling Infrastructure and Marketing Opportunities Map

EPA is accepting public comment on this map, encouraging feedback and recommendations through June 26, 2023.


Our Way of Life is Poisoning Us


USDA awards $25 million to UNL team, regional partners focused on better access to fresh food


Chadron to Reboot Recycling May 20


We put dozens of trackers in plastic bags for recycling. Many were trashed.

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