By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor
Over the years, Imperial and the word recycling have been almost synonymous in this area and across Nebraska. Those of us who have lived here awhile know that, but our newer residents may not.
Much of Imperial’s recycling notoriety came after the city instituted its toter/sticker/orange bag system about 20 years ago.
That “pay as you throw” system was nearly unheard of in Nebraska then. Imperial still remains a rarity in the state, and probably the country, for continuing that program.
Not many communities have taken that step, or may not even know about such a system. Rather, most people in other communities pay a flat monthly fee for trash pickup, no matter how much they put out there.
That hardly encourages recycling, does it?
For several months now, city officials and a group of residents have been meeting with WasteCap Nebraska, a non-profit organization and a resource that provides education, training and services to help businesses and communities in their recycling efforts. WasteCap representatives were back in the community last week to, once again, discuss stepping up our recycling efforts.
That’s a good thing because times have changed, and so has recycling. Look at all of the products now being made out of recyclables. It’s common now to see a sentence on most products stating “Made from recycled materials.”
After two decades of being a recycling leader, maybe it’s become a bit taken for granted in Imperial. I know I’ve found myself not being as serious sometimes, as I was 20 years ago, about recycling everything that can be taken to the recycling center here.
And do we all know what items our recycling center accepts? It takes newspapers, magazines, office paper/envelopes, cardboard, plastic (limited to milk, pop, detergent and dish soap bottles), steel cans, glass and aluminum cans at the building on East Highway 6. One of the things being studied with WasteCap is the feasibility of curbside pickup of recyclables in Imperial.
Look at what’s happened with technology. But, with all these computers, smart phones, monitors and more, it has created a new recycling concern. Rather than just tossing the outdated computers out, one of the areas WasteCap is helping Imperial work on is a possible pickup system for them. Maybe there is more of that type of “pooling” of recyclables that can be picked up and recycled elsewhere.
Lots of other ideas are being explored, as well. Students at Chase County Schools will be surveying our community to see how much we are recycling.
It’s exciting, but really not surprising, that Imperial is part of this renewed educational effort about how we can “step up” our recycling efforts. Let’s all support it.