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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

October 23, 2003

For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Gene Hanlon, Recycling Coordinator, 441-7043

Citizens can win prizes by pledging to recycle

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today kicked off a new educational campaign to increase awareness about recycling and increase use of the City’s network of recycling drop-off sites. The campaign features 14-year old Derek Outson of Lincoln, who urges citizens to “do the right thing….do the recycle thing.”

“Even with our busy lives, it is still important to consider how our daily routines impact our environment,” said Mayor Seng. “I recycle at home and at the office, and I encourage others to make it part of your routine. Separating recyclables from your trash doesn’t take a lot of time, but it conserves resources and extends the life of our landfill. If we stopped City-sponsored recycling services and buried everything in the Bluff Road landfill, it would fill up and have to close in the year 2018, six years ahead of the current projection of 2024.” Last year, about 6,255 tons of material were recycled in the community.

Many residents have already received recycling information in their water bills. The campaign also includes billboard, newspaper, radio and television advertising and programming on 5 CITY-TV, the government access cable television channel. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) provided a grant of $19,703 from the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Fund to help fund the awareness project.

“Efforts to increase awareness about the importance of recycling and opportunities to recycle are essential for a successful community recycling program,” said Rich Tatum, NDEQ Program Specialist. “We are pleased that we were able to provide financial assistance for Lincoln’s campaign and want to encourage residents to take advantage of the recycling services provided by the City.”

Another element of the campaign is a special promotion to encourage people to sign pledge cards promising to recycle and to buy recycled content products. The pledge cards will be used as entries into local, state and national drawings. They will be available in November at all Russ’s Market Stores, Leon’s Food Mart, A and J Recycling Center, A-Can Recycling Center, Mid-City Recycling and local Walmart stores.

On Saturday, November 8th, volunteers will be at each of the City’s multi-material recycling sites to take pledge cards and award prizes to those recycling. The pledge card campaign is part of America Recycles Day. Locally, adults could win a $100 gift certificate to Russ’s Market or a year’s worth of free curbside recycling service from Recycling Enterprises. Children under the age of 18 can win a $75 gift certificate to Walmart along with other prizes. All local entries will be forwarded to a national drawing in which adults can win a new Ford Focus car, and children can win a new Trek 24-speed bicycle.

The City of Lincoln operates 17 multi-material recycling sites in Lincoln and five in Lancaster County. There are also five newspaper-only sites in Lincoln. Gene Hanlon, City Recycling Coordinator, said the goal of the new campaign is to increase use of the recycling drop-off sites. Since the City took over the recycling drop-off program in 1990, the amount of material has steadily increased, peaking at 6,352 tons in fiscal year 1999-2000. Over the next two years there was a five percent decline in the amount of material recycled.

“One reason for the decline was the re-formatting of the Lincoln Journal Star, which reduced the size of the newspaper,” Hanlon said. “Another factor was the slowing economy which resulted in less consumer purchasing and direct mail advertising. There may also be a reduced awareness or desire to recycle among residents, and that is the factor we are trying to change with this campaign.”

Hanlon said last year’s slight gain in recycled material to 6,255 tons was a positive sign, and he would like to see the increase continue.

Those with questions about recycling can call the recycling hotline at 441-8215, or check the blue pages of the Alltel phone directory.

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