Mealtime Switch at NDCS Saves Money, Reduces Waste

By CN Staff

LINCOLN, Neb.—A simple switch at mealtime has led to reduced waste and a savings of $7,000 a year at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (DEC) in Lincoln. Diane Sabatka-Rine, chief of operations for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) said replacing Styrofoam cups with plastic tumblers has cut waste output by 50 percent.

“Our other facilities already use plastic cups at mealtime. But due to lack of storage space, that was not practical at DEC,” explained DEC Assistant Warden James Jansen. “The tumblers are kept in each individual’s cell, thereby, reducing the need to store them someplace else.”

Each person is responsible for cleaning their own tumbler. The first one is free. Tumblers that are lost or damaged are replaced at the cost of the owner.

“We figured out a way to reduce waste and enhance our operations all at the same time,” said Jansen. “I’m honored to work with great people at DEC. They really support bettering the environment and worked together to find a positive solution.”

Jansen said the facility continues to look for other ways to reduce waste and improve efficiency. “Giving each person a tumbler allows them to be a part of the solution. They get one tumbler while at DEC and can take it to their next facility to use as well. It may not seem like much, but when you consider how many disposable cups a person would use at each meal over the course of a year, the impact is significant.”

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