More than half of U.S. waste, nearly 135 million tons, ends up in landfills each year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly one-fifth of waste is made up of everyday plastic items that can’t be recycled using existing recycling infrastructure.
However, innovative energy recovery programs are emerging nationwide to divert previously hard-to-recycle plastics – like juice pouches, candy wrappers and plastic dinnerware – from landfills, and Omaha is leading the way!
Through the Hefty® EnergyBag™ program, Omaha residents are collecting hard-to-recycle plastics at curbside for conversion into valuable resources. As of February 2018, the curbside Omaha area program has collected 24,000 orange bags and diverted 13 tons of plastic from landfills, the equivalent of approximately 10.6 million snack-sized chip bags or 63 barrels of diesel fuel.
“Omaha was the first city to implement the Hefty® EnergyBag™ program on a permanent basis” explains Dale Gubbels, President and CEO of Firstar Fiber, the Materials Recovery Facility that handles Omaha’s recycling. “Currently, many forms of plastic packaging are difficult to mechanically recycle because of technical, environmental and economic challenges. The Hefty® EnergyBag™ program diverts these plastics from landfills, complementing existing recycling programs in Omaha.”
The Hefty® EnergyBag™ program is proud to be the Sustainable Sponsor and a presenter at the Earth Day Omaha celebration on Saturday, April 21 at 11am in Elmwood Park.
During Earth Day Omaha, bring your full orange bags to the Hefty® EnergyBag™ booth (booth #C1) so you can learn just how many hard-to-recycle plastics we can keep out of local landfills. Everyone who brings a full, tied orange bag will receive a free t-shirt and get the opportunity to enter a drawing for the chance to win great prizes – from gift cards to family Worlds of Fun passes!
Join us at the main stage at 11:20am for Hefty® EnergyBag™ program fun, competitions and more information about the initiative and its impact on the Omaha area.