New program aims to reduce plastic in Douglas County landfill

New program aims to reduce plastic in Douglas County landfill

A new program will now try to deal with the huge amount of plastic going into the Omaha landfill.

It starts at the end of this month and over 2,500 homes will be a part of it.

"Sometimes you wonder where it's all going to go."

Don Wall is talking about all the plastic he puts into his trash bin. He says it’s about four bags each week. Right now, it's all going to the landfill in Douglas County, but that's expected to change at the end of November.

Wall said, "I think using those plastic bags is a good idea."

Wall is talking about Hefty Energy bags, that's what he and thousands of other people in Omaha will be getting. It's a part of a new program through the City of Omaha that will last six months.

Wall believes it’s "a step in the right direction."

People will be putting plastics that can't be recycled into these bags and placing them in their recycling bins.

These are some of the items that should go in: potato chip bags, candy wrappers, straws, cereal box liners and plastic cups, plates, and utensils.

When the Hefty Energy bags end up at First Star Recycling they're put onto a conveyor belt. Once it reaches the top it's thrown into a chute. The chute brings the bags down and then workers put the bags into boxes. Those boxes are then shipped off to Kansas City where the materials will eventually be burned instead of coal.

There's already positive results. Workers at First Star Recycling say some people in Sarpy County started using the Hefty bags a few weeks ago.

Dale Gubbels, CEO of First Star Recycling, said "We've managed to keep about 500 pounds of material out of the landfill already."

It’s a number that many hope only keeps growing.

The homes that are part of this program are the same ones participating in the trash collection pilot program which starts this week.

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