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Omaha seeing an increase in materials being recycled

Posted at 3:09 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 16:09:55-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The amount of materials being recycled has increased tremendously because of the combined efforts of the community and the city of Omaha.

"We are very excited," said Matt O'Connell, City of Omaha recycling coordinator. "All this material that is being recycled is stuff that would have gone to the landfill so it's really great for the city of Omaha that the residents are really embracing recycling."

Recycling was expected to go up anywhere between 25% and 40% with new recycling bins and drop-off sites. So far, recycling was up 35% in December, and January was up by 60%.

"Access to the cart was a big factor, as well as the pandemic which caused a lot of people to work from home," O'Connell said. "Online shopping is up, home improvement is up, so there is a lot more cardboard."

The newest recycling drop-off location is located on the corner of 17th Street and Burt Street, on the Creighton University campus. They have bins for glass and bins for mixed materials such as cardboard, paper, plastic and metal.

"We had the space that was closer to our community of North Omaha, which doesn't really have a recycling site close at all," said Creighton University Director of Sustainability Nick McCreary.

So far the new location is a popular one, as it often fills up fast.

"Partnerships is at the root of sustainability," McCreary said. "We can't all go off and try to do our own thing. We need to work together. This is a good, but easy example of we are all trying to divert more ways, so why don't we just work together and find the best solution? And look what happened. It works well, everyone's happy and we have a pretty cool recycling site now."

The site on the northwest side of town was closed a while ago and residents are wondering when another one will be back to the area.

"It's an ongoing process and the contractor is actively working on locating a northwest location that would be suitable," O'Connell said.

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