City Recycling Coordinator Gene Hanlon today reported that recycling efforts at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games sports venues kept 52 percent of the generated waste out of the City landfill. The Recycling Office and Keep Lincoln and Lancaster County Beautiful worked with the USA National Games on a goal of making the July 18 through 23 event litter free and diverting at least 50 percent of the waste from competition venues, Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Special Olympics Town.
About 230 Green Team volunteers worked more than 2,000 hours to prevent litter and help sort recyclables from waste. At the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Special Olympics Town, the City also composted organic waste at the City's yard waste compost facilities. More than 73 percent of the waste generated at those events was diverted from the landfill with the help of the Green Team volunteers. Hanlon estimated that a total of 15,675 pounds of plastic bottles and cans, 24,430 pounds of cardboard and paper, and 9,110 pounds of compostable items were diverted from the landfill during the week at all the Special Olympics functions.
"Green Team volunteers did an excellent job of sorting recyclables and maximizing the amount of material that could be diverted from the landfill," said Hanlon. "UNL Landscape Services and Recycling Enterprises provided collection containers for the recyclables as well as transportation and processing services. We would not have achieved our goals without their help."
About 670 recycling containers were placed at 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games events including the Games' central warehouse, UNL housing, local hotels and the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift. Hanlon said that the highest recycling rate occurred at the central warehouse, where 96 percent of the generated waste was diverted. At locations without Green Team volunteers, the recycling rate ranged from 10 to 40 percent.
One of the legacies of the Games is that the portable recycling containers purchased with grant funds can be used in the future. The Recycling Office will loan the containers at no cost to Lincoln and Lancaster County groups, churches and businesses who wish to recycle at their events. Organizations interested in "greening" their event can contact the Recycling Office at 441-8215. More information on information on recycling is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: recycle).