Lincoln Proposed Recycling Plan: LIBA Urges Members to Participate – 9 August 2013

Dear LIBA Member,

The City of Lincoln may be moving toward imposing mandatory recycling regulations on Lincoln’s businesses.

In June 2012 the Mayor formed a “Solid Waste Advisory Committee” to develop broad recommendations for city solid waste policy. The committee has discussed several areas of solid waste management from experimental landfill technology to composting food waste.

The committee has developed a preliminary recommendation that the city adopt ordinances which would mandate that businesses have recycling services. The mandate could be imposed in several different ways.  Business owners could be required to sign up and pay for services, haulers could be required to provide the services and then charge the business for them.  The city may tie recycling to building permits by requiring a recycling plan be submitted to the city, and application fee paid by the business and that the city approve the plan before a building permit can be issued.

Committee recommendations may also change how construction and demolition waste is handled.  The advisory committee has discussed requiring on-site separation of construction waste and requiring a contractor to obtain a recycling permit before any demolition can be done on existing houses or businesses.

The purpose of this letter is not to cause undo alarm but to raise awareness and encourage community participation. These recommendations represent significant regulatory burdens to Lincoln’s local businesses and are likely to go forward unless this committee and the city of Lincoln hear from you. Recycling and diverting waste from the landfill are laudable goals, however when recycling is mandated it eliminates the community’s ability to exercise creativity and flexibility to find innovative new ways to meet these goals. The city needs to focus on education not regulation.  The city should work with the business owners in the community to educate them about recycling, local recycling resources and other ways to improve waste diversion.

Please make sure your voice is heard.  The advisory committee will host a public meeting where they will solicit comments and advice from the broader community before they make their final recommendations.

The open house will be Tuesday August 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Lower Level Training room of the Lincoln-Lancaster Health department located at 3140 “N” Street.  If you cannot attend in person you can submit your comments online via the virtual town hall.

Recycling our resources is a commendable goal but it is one we should work towards together, not through burdensome government regulation.

Sincerely,

The LIBA Board of Directors