Recyclables

Crushed plastic bottles sit in a bale.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR file photo

The city’s Department of Health is investigating Husker Refuse Services, a Lincoln garbage hauler, for allegedly dumping recycling material, collected from customers, into the city landfill.

The complaint against Husker Refuse is the first complaint against a garbage hauler for illegally dumping recyclable material into the landfill under a new recycling ordinance, said Nancy Clark, environmental health supervisor for the health department. 

The city ordinance does not ban recyclable material from the landfill. But it does prohibit a trash hauler or a recycling hauler from collecting recyclable material from customers and then dumping it in the landfill.

A picture of a Husker Refuse recycling truck dumping what appears to be recyclable material into the landfill was posted on a Bad Business Lincoln Facebook page Wednesday. TJay Schejbal posted the picture, which he said he took at the landfill.

Schejbal, an employee of Paragon Sanitation & Recycling, said he saw the truck dumping recyclable material Wednesday while he was unloading his own truck at the landfill.

The material was obviously recyclable material collected from customers because there was no garbage mixed with it, Schejbal said in a telephone interview. 

Pictures on the Facebook page showed the Husker Refuse signage on the truck. 

Schejbal said he did not personally file a complaint with the health department. 

Lincoln residents who want a hauler to handle their recyclable material sign up and pay extra for that curbside service on top of their garbage service.

Haulers generally contract with a local processing service to sort the recycled material and move it on to businesses that reuse it.

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The city will send a notice to the hauler that there is a complaint and landfill staff will watch for violations, Clark said.

“We get complaints against haulers for various things. Some complaints are valid. Some are not,” she said.

The notification lets the hauler know there may be a violation and often stops the problem. If the city gets more complaints or the landfill finds evidence of violations, then the city will take further steps, including referring the case to the law department for a misdemeanor prosecution, she said.

Calls and emails to Husker Refuse for a response were not returned Thursday.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.

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Reporter

Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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