We can all make decisions every day to lessen our impact on our natural resources. A Zero waste strategy depends on individuals who share a vision of more efficient use of resources and their recapture. The Zero Waste hierarchy has much more than the 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, including refuse, return, redesign, and regulate. ZWHierarchy

Read the tabs below to see how to reduce your impact

Packaging materials like plastics and boxes can make up to 30% of what ends up in the landfill. A lot can be recycled, but there are still many kinds of packaging that do not have a recycling market. Reducing always comes before recycling!

Reduce the amount of packaging you buy.

  • Always choose buying items in bulk instead of single serving packages. It just takes a few more seconds to put stuff in reusable containers at home. (Added bonus: buying in bulk is often cheaper!)
  • Items with long shelf lives like dry beans, fruits, grains, cereals, rice and pasta are particularly great for buying in bulk and storing in glass jars. (Added bonus: they look nice! No need to hide them in the pantry)
  • Buy concentrated products that you can dilute at home in reusable containers.
  • Bring your own reusable bags to the store. (Added bonus: many stores offer a bring-your-own-bag discount!)
  • Drink beverages from your reusable bottle, and restock at home with larger containers. (Added bonus: water is free! And tap water is more rigorously tested than bottled water)
  • Bring your coffee mug to the café instead of using non-recyclable wax-lined paper cups—or even worse, chemical-leaching Styrofoam. (Added bonus: many coffee shops have discounts for bringing your cup, AND no wax or foam particles in your drink!).
  • Reuse clean produce bags and buy fresh unpackaged produce instead of individually wrapped items. You can bring your own reusable jars and containers to the store and buy in bulk or from the deli counter directly.
  • Buy products that have recyclable packaging. Always choose cardboard over foam trays, for example egg cartons and vegetables packaging.
  • Please visit Zero Waste Home for countless tips on how to reduce waste!

US EPA Recycling guide

Where can I recycle in Nebraska?

WasteCap Nebraska has the most comprehensive recycling guide in the state!

Check DEQ’s Recycling Directory for facilities by material type, County, City or organization name

Lincoln

Recycling Drop-off Locations in Lincoln Map

List of Private Curbside Recyclers in Lincoln

Omaha

Curbside recycling bins are available for residential areas in Omaha city limits for free! Get yours here.

Recycling Drop-off locations in Omaha

Recycling Materials Recovery Facility FirstStar Recycling

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility in Omaha Under the Sink for chemicals, paints, light bulbs, etc.

 

ELECTRONICS RECYCLING

Donate your electronics to Goodwill or Cross Training Center (Omaha).

 

Local recyclers

Lincoln: Secure Recyclers, 123 System Solutions

Omaha: DataShield, Midwest Electronic Recycling, PC Recycling

Nebraska City: NebWorks, Inc.

 

National Retailers

Best Buy, Staples, and cell phone service providers. Check Call2Recycle for batteries and cellphone recyclers near you.

 

Planning a building or deconstruction project? See our C&D page

Food scraps can account for up to 25% of your home’s waste. In the landfill, organic materials feed methane-producing bacteria that contribute to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

Whether you live in the country or in a small apartment, there are ways to remove food waste from your trash. Composting creates a nutritious soil amendment that can be used in lawns and gardens. Compost is a mixture of partially decomposed plant material. Composting garden and food wastes is a simple, inexpensive and ecologically sound way to restore fertility to your soil. It can be used in the garden to improve the soil, and feed plants. Adding compost to heavy clay soil with lighten, loosen and improve drainage, while adding it to sandy soil will increase water and nutrient holding capacity.

Composting Service Providers:

There are a few providers collecting food waste in Nebraska, including weCompost, Prairieland Dairy, Big Muddy Farm and Soil Dynamics.

Start your own HOME composting project

Backyard Composting Methods:

You can compost in your yard by incorporating food waste into your soil, making a heap, making your own container or purchasing a composting bin. Get the details from UNL Extension and Missouri Extension offices.

Apartment living: Vermicomposting

You can compost in small indoor areas using worms! Vermicomposting is the process of using worms and micro-organisms to turn kitchen waste into a black, earthy-smelling, nutrient-rich humus. Learn How from the UNL Extension office.

 

Nearly 1 billion people around the world go hungry, and 1 in 6 Americans is food insecure, while in the US we throw away about 40% of all food that’s produced. The average American family of 4 loses somewhere between $1,300 and $2,300 annually in wasted food. Furthermore, food waste is particularly problematic in landfills because it is fuel for bacteria that create methane. Reducing organics in the landfill would have the greatest impact on reducing methane production.

Reducing food waste at home:

  1.  Patrol your pantry. Assess what you already have in your fridge and cabinets, identifying which items should be eaten soonest. To keep your kitchen waste-free, make meals that incorporate these foods.
  2.  Become Storage Savvy. Not sure the best way to store cooked beans or whether you can freeze dairy? Consult the A-Z Food Storage Tip Guide to learn how to keep food fresh longer.

3. Get creative with your leftovers.

  • Make stock from vegetable trimmings or a chicken carcass.
  • Tranform leftover bread into croutons or bread pudding.
  • Stir-fry leftover veggies, meat, and rice.
  • Chop and freeze aging fruit to save for yummy smoothies.
  • Download the leftoverswap app to give or receive excess food from people in your community.
  • Find more leftover ideas here

4. Understand food dates. Often ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ dates do not accurately indicate food safety. Besides those on infant formula and some baby food, these dates are not federally regulated, so it is important to understand how to best store our food. Curious about how long food really lasts? Check out eatbydate.com for an informative perspective on food shelf life, safety, recipes, and more!

5. Nourish your community. Moving? Going on vacation? Certain you won’t eat that tomato soup in your cupboard? Share food with neighbors or donate to your local food bank.

Lots of people need food. You can use craigslist, freecycle or yerdle to find your food a good home.

6. Create your own compost bin or find out more about your area’s compost program. For a complete A-Z guide on composting, go here.

7. Track your trash. Choose two weeks to list everything you throw out. At the end of those weeks, evaluate the list and learn to purchase and store better next time.

This info and more at foodshift.net

The vast majority of unwanted medicines in Nebraska are disposed of improperly. This poses risks of accidental poisoning, prescription drug
abuse, and water contamination.

YOU SHOULD NEVER FLUSH LEFTOVER
MEDICINE DOWN THE TOILET.

Instead, check with your local pharmacist to
see which disposal options are available to you.

Check Nebraska MEDS Coalition for more information.

WasteCap's Mission Statement

Our Mission: Eliminating waste in Nebraska through innovation, education and policy change.