Seward Rotary Club learned about the history of recycling efforts in the community, the City of Seward's recycling center, and its financial performance in an overview provided by Greg Butcher, City Administrator.
Greg Butcher, Seward City Administrator and a Seward Rotarian, was the speaker for the recent Seward Rotary Club meeting program on Wednesday, July 13th on the topic of the city's Recycling Program.  He was introduced by Seward Rotarian Program Chair, Clark Kolterman.
Butcher first reviewed the history of the Seward Recycling Program and the Seward County Izaak Walton League.  In 1970 the GFWC Seward Junior Women’s Club, GFWC Seward Woman’s Club and the Seward County Izaak Walton League sought out a local recycling program for the Greater Seward area-calling for an organized recycling program for Seward.  Finally, in 1973, under the guidance of Bert Hafer, with the Izaak Walton League, the Seward County Izaak Walton League built the current Seward Recyling Center and coordinated the efforts of the recycling for Seward and coordinated the efforts for twenty years.
In 1993, because of change in the State Recycling Guidelines, the City of Seward volunteered to take over the existing Seward Recycling Center and the coordination of the program.  This was based on the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act (LB1257), requiring every community to create a plan and develop a recycling program and establish goals.  At that time, the City of Seward took over the duties of the Recycling Program and building, which the Izaak Walton League donated to the City of Seward.  There was one part-time employee at that time, with a budget of $15,000 and was open to all residents of Seward. 
Today, almost 30 years later, the budget has only increased to $22, 816 and still has only one part-time employee.  All of this success is due to the strong level of volunteerism at the Seward Recycling Center.  Local groups that currently serve the Seward Recycling Center include Faith Lutheran Church, St. John Lutheran Church, the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Knights of Columbus, Concordia University, the Seward Rotary Club, the Seward Kiwanis Club and Friedan’s United Church of Christ.
Currently the Seward Recycling Center collects and recycle newsprint, magazine, gloss paper, cardboard, plastic #1 through #7, steel, batteries, computer paper, and aluminum and used oil.  The center does not collet glass. The hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm and Saturdays with volunteers from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.  The facility is open to all residents of Seward County.
In 2021, the Seward Recycling Center collected 103 bales of paper-over 40 tons, 54 tons of plastic and 650 gals of used oil.  The revenue in 1994 was $2024.  The highest year of revenue was in 1995 with $13,366.  A real low was in 2019 with a revenue of $396 when the market dropped out on the recycling products.  The current revenue of the Center in 2021 was $7,728.  These funds do not include shipping or handling and hauling expenses.
Bob Miers supervises the Seward Recycling Program, through the Speech Department.  There in not a current employee hired for the part-time job at the Seward Recycling Program.
The City of Seward currently works with the Seward/Saline County Solid Waste Management landfill located near Milford.  Butcher commented that the real issues with recycling include 1.) The Closing of the Chinese World Market Recycling Program, 2.) a Reduced Labor Shortage and 3.) Single Streaming Recycling, which is not the most efficient effort.  He also spoke on the impact of the City’s Garbage Recycling program.  Butcher pointed out that, in 1993, experts predicted that by 2020, Seward would be recycling at the level of 50% and today, the City of Seward is actually at a 7% level in recycling (which is about the level that most areas are at for recycling). 
The program finished with questions and answers and the celebration of Butcher’s Birthday, as his 40th birthday was July 13th and the Rotarians sang “Happy Birthday”!