In an effort to be completely transparent with how we are working to improve recycling, here is a quick summary as well as the full text of the grant.
TLDR; This NDEE funded grant will create a new, part-time position within the Solid Waste Management Department solely for handling recyclable materials. This position is being created because current staffing limitations prohibit an efficient recycling system. Once this position is hired, trained, and working on the backlog of recyclables, the City will be able to start accepting #1-#7 plastics. (We’re hoping by the end of the first quarter). This will free up other employees and drivers, allowing us to look towards additional collection locations. While this happens, the Solid Waste Department will work with state-wide MRFS and recycling plants to increase revenue and total amount of material moved. In addition we will begin the Hefty Energy Bag Program with approximately 200 households to assess the feasibility of that program.
|Full Grant Text:|
This project will build on the City of Sidney’s current recycling program by utilizing local resources and grants to increase the amount of recycled material collected and moved out of the city, offer more options to city and county residents, and dramatically decrease the amount of these materials going into the landfill. This will be accomplished by better utilizing local Keep America Beautiful affiliates and working with Firstar Fibers and Western Resources Group.
Currently, the city is collecting 1&2 plastics, mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, aluminum and tin. These items are all being sent to a single stream system, primarily due to lack of personnel. The single stream system, while less cost effective, is the city’s only reasonable option at this point in time, despite better available options. With the addition of a dedicated materials handler, the City of Sidney will be able to more shrewdly move materials, increase the plastics collection to include all plastics 1 – 7, recover greater costs, and utilize the Hefty Energy Bag program for unrecyclable plastics that end up in our landfill. As the city has dedicated collection bins for each type of material, the Materials Handler would be primarily responsible for separating improperly mixed items, baling materials, and stacking/sorting bales for shipping.
The City of Sidney will work with Keep Sidney Beautiful to distribute and provide education on the Hefty Energy Bag Program. The initial pilot program will break up rolls and give smaller packets of bags to participants to increase participation in the communities. The program will operate as a self-service drop off, much like our recycling, until participation and funds from bag sales allows the city to add an additional route.
During the first quarter, a new employee will be hired, trained and begin operating at the Recycling Center sorting and baling recyclables. The recycling will be expanded to include all types of plastics, and the city will have already started agreements with the necessary parties to move all plastics to Firstar Fibers in Omaha via Western Resources Group in Ogallala, and aluminum and tin to local KAB affiliate Spud Rowley in Kimball. The City of Sidney will work with Keep Sidney Beautiful during this quarter to boost the new recycling options and hefty energy bag program, as well as educational materials to re-learn the recycling process in our town. This quarter will largely focus on increasing the amount of recyclables being collected, and the Hefty Energy Bag Pilot Program to get as many households signed up as possible. The city will track and compare recycling collections to the previous year in order to get a baseline on the overall % increase in materials collected, as well as revenue.
In the second quarter the Hefty Energy Bag Pilot Program should move into the city purchased supply of bags. Both the city manager and director of Keep Sidney Beautiful agree this will be a tough sell to our community, so the two entities will work together to educate citizens on the value of the program. The city has agreed to continue funding the inventory as long as community engagement is high. During this quarter the recycling program should have ironed out any issues from the increase in materials collected. The city will continue to monitor costs and revenue from the improved recycling options and by the end of the second quarter should have a solid baseline for the overall success of the program.
In the third quarter the programs will continue to operate as they should with any necessary adjustments made to ensure optimal efficiency. The project managers, Keep Sidney Beautiful and Landfill Supervisor, will compile data and conduct community interviews to present to the city during the yearly budget meeting in order to increase city funding and support that will allow the program to grow. The project managers will also be assessing grant needs for potential expansion of the project, or whether to continue as is.
The whole of Cheyenne County has been desperate for more recycling options for years. By simply adding an employee to the ranks, the city will be able to expand options that benefit the county as a whole. While some outlying villages (Lodgepole, Potter) are able to utilize some recycling opportunities outside the county, they as well as the villages of Gurley and Dalton largely rely on services in Sidney. Boosting the recycling center in Sidney has been core to expanding options around the county. If this project is as successful as it should be, the increased efficiency, and ability to handle greater quantities, will allow the City to place collection bins in other areas in the future.
- When can I start dropping off all my plastics?
- We do not have an exact date. This will all depend on the hiring process. Hopefully by the end of the first quarter.
- How do I apply for the Materials Handler position?
- This job will be hired and managed through the City of Sidney. Job posting is expected to go up any day as we fine tune the job description, so keep an watch on their Facebook and website.
- What does ‘grant funded position’ mean?
- This position is being funded through grant reimbursements from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. This means, that the majority of payroll costs acquired by the city for this specific position will be paid back through this grant fund as long as the program is operating according to plan.
- So does that mean this job is gone if we don’t get a grant next year?
- Not necessarily! The purpose of this grant is to elevate our recycling program so that it can afford it’s own employee. Keep Sidney Beautiful will keep applying for grants to support this program as long as it is needed. It is important to note, that while a wonderful benefit, grants cannot always be 100% relied upon.
- How can I be a part of the Hefty Energy Bag program
- This program will roll out soon. The priority now is getting an employee hired, as both the recycling changes and HEB rely on having that employee in place! If you are interested now, send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you on a ‘pre-waiting’ list.
- My question isn’t on this FAQ.
- That’s because I made all these up. Send your questions to email@example.com and they will be added!