See You Later, Cardboard

At J-Tech Solar, we love to provide sustainable energy as a way to better care for the earth. We keep our eye out for new advancements and news when it comes to eco-friendly living, and this week we’re discussing a big change in Lincoln, Nebraska.

What happened to Lincoln, Nebraska?

On April 1st, Lincoln passed a citywide ban on corrugated cardboard in the landfill. Corrugated cardboard is defined as having three layers of paper, with the middle layer being rippled, or “corrugated.” This ban applies to not only corrugated cardboard used and discarded internally, but also to any cardboard brought in from surrounding cities and counties. Cardboard is no longer considered trash, and should not be tossed out in your regular bin. While other states have already banned the discarding of cardboard, Lincoln is the first location in Nebraska to place a ban on it. The mayor of Lincoln, Chris Beutler, hopes that Lincoln can be the beacon in Nebraska for a cleaner planet, and will encourage other Nebraska cities to make changes.

pile of cardboard in landfill

How will this help?

By recycling cardboard, residents of Lincoln can help decrease the 41 percent of landfill space which is taken up by recyclable paper materials like cardboard across the United States on average. This ban applies not only to residences, but also to small and large businesses. By recycling cardboard, landfills should see a huge decrease in capacity. Mayor Beutler hopes that by encouraging companies and families to recycle cardboard, they will see an overall increase in general recycling as well. Many homeowners are purchasing curbside recycling services, and many apartments and businesses are providing individuals with means to recycle with little effort. Most likely, these individuals will begin recycling other materials as well.

How does this affect me?

While you probably encounter more corrugated cardboard than you expect, this ban on landfill cardboard shouldn’t negatively impact your everyday life. There are 28 drop off sites in Lincoln, all conveniently located throughout town. In addition, there are plenty of trash providers who will also provide curbside recycling service for anywhere from $10-$15 per month. Essentially, the only way this ban will impact individuals is by requiring a more watchful eye on the trash being put in the garbage. There are ways to make this ban less burdening, and once those means are taken, it becomes a simple process of properly sorting trash.

man holding bundle of flattened cardboard boxes tied up with string

Have there been minor headaches?

While this ban is a huge step for not only Lincoln but Nebraska as a whole, there have been a few headaches during the first couple weeks of the ban. The city sees that while many people are doing a great job properly recycling corrugated cardboard, the issues are caused by the trash providers, apartment complexes, and overall logistics process. For example, some apartment complexes haven’t provided residents with means to recycle on the property. They aren’t providing recycling bins either because they weren’t completely aware of the ban or because they simply decided not to adhere to the ordinance, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Recycling centers are also struggling slightly to keep up with the influx of material, despite preemptive efforts to prepare. Also, many trash services are still unsure of exactly what is allowed or not (for example, if the cardboard is wet at the time of pickup, it cannot be recycled).

With time, the hiccups will be worked out and this ban should help clean hundreds of pounds of recyclable materials out our landfills, thereby improving the health of both our city and our planet. J-Tech is excited to help improve the use sustainable energy in Lincoln, Grand Island, and the surrounding areas. Call us today for more information on how solar power is helping Lincoln residents reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their electrical bill!