Lincoln Public Schools has been recycling since 1998 and in that time has diverted more than 21 million pounds of material from the landfill. On Thursday, LPS added another impressive number to its recycling resume: 50, which is the number of schools the City of Lincoln honored through its Recycle Lincoln Leadership Recognition Program.
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler made the announcement during a special event at Pound Middle School. He applauded the schools for joining 14 other local organizations that have been recognized as part of the city’s program, which was started by the City Recycling Office to reward local organizations for their recycling and/or composting efforts.
“I encourage everyone to follow the great example set by the students, faculty and staff at our public schools, who are making a real difference in our waste diversion efforts,” Beutler said.
All LPS schools have been recycling since 2002. In addition to recycling, the LPS cafeteria composting program was piloted in three schools in 2014 and is now implemented in 49 schools. Since the program began, more than 2.7 million pounds of organic material has been composted instead of hauled to the landfill.
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel accepted the awards on behalf of the winning schools. He thanked Beutler and the city for their partnership, as well as the students and staff who made these awards possible. He also recognized LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin for her leadership.
“The environmental impact that our students, staff and buildings have is a priority for us with Lincoln Public Schools and it has been for quite awhile,” Joel said, later adding, “This award isn’t an ending point. It’s a beginning point. This is going to be life work for every young person in this room.”
Pound is a leader among leaders within LPS. The school has a 75-percent diversion rate, the second highest in the school district. Pound has implemented a composting operation, collects plastic film from students and their families, and integrates waste diversion efforts into the curriculum. The school recently won the Trex National Annual Recycling Challenge and received the first school-wide recycling award in the state from Keep Nebraska Beautiful.
On Thursday, Pound was one of three schools that received the Gold-level distinction within the city’s recycling leadership program, along with Wysong Elementary School and Irving and School middle schools.
The City awarded 31 Silver-level designations to the following schools that recycle or compost 40 to 59 percent of their waste:
The City awarded Bronze-level designations to the LPS District Office and to 14 schools that recycle 20 to 39 percent of their waste:
A fourth designation that can be achieved is Zero Waste for diverting 90 percent of waste from the landfill.
Organizations with new or existing recycling programs are encouraged to apply to the Recycle Lincoln Leadership Recognition Program and showcase their recycling and composting efforts. More information and online applications are available at recycle.lincoln.ne.gov/recognition.
Published: December 13, 2018, Updated: December 13, 2018