Focus On Land & Waste Division
Solid waste: How do we manage it?


When we think about how to manage our “solid waste,” (more commonly known as trash), people often first think of disposal options. However, when possible, our first thoughts should instead focus on:
  • Waste reduction -- Producing less trash in the first place;
  • Reuse -- Finding another use for something so it doesn’t become trash; and
  • Recycling – Sending materials to processors so it can be made into new products.
NDEQ provides a variety of waste grants that provide communities, businesses and individuals support for their efforts to reduce waste. To find out more about the types of awards that are available, go to the Financial/Distribution of Aid portion of this web site.

Disposal

Most of the household waste that is generated in Nebraska is disposed of at landfills. Every year, over two million tons of waste is sent to the state’s 23 permitted landfills. .
Click here to view map of solid waste management facilities and quarterly landfill disposal statistics. In addition to these municipal solid waste landfills, the state also regulates several other types of facilities that manage solid waste. They include:
  • Transfer stations – Some areas in Nebraska are a considerable distance from the nearest landfill. Transfer stations are a more local, temporary storage area for the waste. Periodically, the waste is moved from these locations to be disposed of at a landfill. Nebraska has 37 permitted transfer stations across the state.
  • Material recovery facilities – At materials recovery facilities, waste is sorted out, in order to remove recyclables before the waste is sent on for landfill disposal. The recyclable items are then transported to a recycler for processing. There are six permitted materials recovery facilities in the state.
  • Compost sites – Composting involves taking organic matter, such as leaves, grass clippings, some food items, and sludge from wastewater treatment plants, and promoting biodegradation, or the natural decay and breakdown of these items. The end result is a useful product – a mulch that makes soil more fertile. Although permitting is only necessary for large compost operations (there are eight in Nebraska), composting by individuals occurs all across the state.
  • Construction and Demolition landfills – These facilities are permitted to take material that is a result of construction and demolition activities, such as concrete, steel and other metals, bricks, wood, sheet rock, and other miscellaneous construction items. There are 21 permitted construction and demolition landfills in Nebraska.