People will always need a way to dispose of trash. But how we go about it may need to change, to keep up with the times. The Metropolitan Area Planning Agency wants public input to find more effective and efficient means of collecting solid waste.
"I do know that the costs go up as fuel costs go up, labor costs go up and costs to buy the Vehicles - go up to collect that stuff. So that has to be paid for somehow, and that's why we're updating this plan,” said MAPA Executive Director Paul Mullen.
An update to an integrated plan, for Douglas and Sarpy Counties as well as the City of Omaha, is in the works, but needs some fine-tuning before year’s end. That’s the point of an open house Monday, 4 to 7 p.m. at the South Omaha Public Library, 28th & Q Streets, Mullen said, "to get input from the public on what they think some of the options we've been looking at, whether they're the direction we should be going.”
The plan, at www.mapa-swplan.com, includes ideas such as eliminating yard waste pick-up, something Jim Kreikemeier of Omaha is already doing. “I bag them but i use them for mulch in the garden,” he said. “It keeps the weeds down in the garden and it uses less water, so it works out really well that way."
If communities required residents to mulch those clippings, they could stand to save some big money. But that’s just one thought. The plan update has many. Recycling is another area that’s addressed. "Should we consolidate?” questioned Mullen, “Are there some ways we can haul stuff to other places that buy the products or should we actually bring some kind of operations to the metro area, that you don't have to haul stuff away?"
MAPA wants to hear from as many citizens as they can, as far as how the entire collections process can be improved. That’s why they’ve also developed an online survey, which people can access by clicking here. They need to receive responses by May 14.
“Yeah, there's always room for improvement. The big thing is people have got to get involved,” said Kreikemeier. MAPA will forward all input they receive to municipalities at the county and city level. They hope to have a solid plan for the future in place by year’s end.