District diverted more than half its waste from the landfill last year

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – With roughly 50,000 students and staff heading back to Lincoln Public School buildings, the district said it has no choice but to prioritize sustainability.

“We have the potential to have a big impact on the environment and we have to think about how we can operate more sustainability,” LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittany Albin said.

It’s why the district dropped its first annual sustainability report looking back at 2020′s numbers.

The report shows the district created more than $4 million in waste, but 54 percent of it was diverted from the landfill. More specifically, LPS recycled 1.2 million pounds, composted 900,000 pounds and re-used 39,000 pounds.

Everyone from students and staff helped in this effort.

“Students are interacting every single day whether it’s sorting trash from their tray in the lunchroom or something in a classroom, so we have students engaged in it every single day,” Albin said. “We also have programs for students to take it further if they’re even more interested. I’ll give the example of a school garden.”

Albin said the district doesn’t have data for previous years because this is the first year they’ve compiled all of the data, but she knows they’ve only gotten more sustainable over the years.

Even during a pandemic, which Albin said did present some challenges in the way of sustainability.

“There was more paper towel waste for example from all of the cleanings so how can we capture that and track that. Food was served differently in the cafeteria, it’s been an ongoing conversation,” Albin said.

Albin said there were also some benefits from the pandemic. The school used less electricity and water during the months schools were closed and also cut printing costs by more than $182,000.

Copyright 2021 KOLN. All rights reserved.



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