Omaha Recycling Contract
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Recycling in omaha with the company Firststar may stop due to recent international issues with recycling affecting how much money the company is making. The demand for recycling and recycling companies, such as Firststar, has dropped mainly due to china no longer purchasing plastic and paper materials from America starting in 2018. To put into perspective how much money Firststar is losing, cardboard is selling from $100 a ton to $15 and aluminum has been cut in half from $1 a ton to 50 cents. Firststar is ready to terminate its contract with Omaha unless every household is willing to pay about $1 more each month to keep recycling, assuming people would recycle as much as they did in the past year. Other cities including Memphis and Philadelphia have stopped recycling or minimized what can be recycled due to other companies similar to Firststar adding or raising recycling fees. A recycling fee is not in Mayor Jean Stothert’s original budget proposal for the upcoming year.
However, members of sfs Cate Kelly and Corah Johnson urged city council members to keep recycling in Omaha by renewing Omaha’s contract with Firststar at a public hearing in August. Cate reminded the council how taxpayers would be paying three million for Gene Leahy Mall renovations, which is comparably more than the 1.7 million dollars for recycling, and spoke about how passionate Omaha’s youth is about sustainability and preserving the planet. Corah brought up how the world generates 300 million tons of plastic each year and how much of this plastic and waste gets thrown out into poorer countries and how omaha can help stop this cycle by recycling in the city. Following the hearing, council members Pete Festersen and Aimee melton assured the members of sfs that recycling will stay in Omaha and they spoke with a Firststar employee who also feels confident in the future of recycling here! We need to come together and not let Omaha go backwards in the fight for climate justice! Story sourced from The Omaha World Herald and KMTV interview link below or click Here.
“The proposed changes to the City of Omaha's recycling contract with Firststar would require an extra one dollar per month per household... This is the true cost of the waste we produce and we must stay commited to disposing in a just and proper manner that does not destroy where we live.” - Cate Kelly, President
Presented by Omaha Students for Sustainability Social Media Team