Hastings became the first town in Nebraska to adopt a Zero Waste resolution in 2015. The city did not set an official timeline for reaching Zero Waste but did resolve to create a Zero Waste plan.
There were four key factors in Hastings push for Zero Waste:
The Zero Waste resolution was a direct result of a two-year partnership with WasteCap Nebraska, a state-wide non-profit organization focused on waste reduction. WasteCap worked with five Nebraska communities on Zero Waste community planning thanks to funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. (Eco-Cycle Solutions was an advisor throughout the project.)
WasteCap worked closely with local stakeholders in Hastings to assess and discuss the policies, programs and infrastructure needed to move the city toward Zero Waste. In a summary report, WasteCap recommended these priority action steps: requiring all waste haulers to report trash and recycling data, using a pay-as-you-throw pricing system, implementing universal recycling, exploring new landfill bans, supporting business recycling, and putting money into recycling outreach and education for the public.
The Central Community College-Hastings (CCC) was also a key community player in the city’s push for Zero Waste. CCC has a goal of Zero Waste by 2019. The campus president and the sustainability coordinator were both active participants in the working group meetings and vocal proponents of Zero Waste at the city council meetings. The college emphasized that it could not meet its goals without the city’s support and partnership.