State law requires that everyone including institutions and businesses must follow local ordinances and recycle any material banned from landfill disposal in Wisconsin.
Planning for a Successful Recycling Program
Successful program planning includes appointing a recycling coordinator, assembling a task force, conducting a preliminary waste audit, researching available markets, developing a collection method, revising a procurement policies and developing an education program.
The primary function of the task force is to assist the coordinator in developing the initial program, however, it can become a permanent advisory committee. Task force members should represent: 1) Custodial Staff experienced in trash removal, 2) Management to ensure top-level support and participation incentives, 3) Staff Supervisors to develop motivation techniques and an educational program, 4) General Employees to provide peer leadership.
Planning begins with a waste audit to determine waste composition and volume, the point of origin, what portion could be recycled, re-used, reduced or eliminated and what recyclable/reusable materials could be substituted for materials currently in use. Audited areas should include offices, cafeterias, break rooms, vending machine areas, production areas, maintenance areas and storage areas.
Collectors market recyclable materials through brokers, intermediate processors or end users. Brokers link customers with businesses that accept recyclables. Intermediate processors accept recyclables and prepare them for end use. Some pick up materials, but most require delivery. End users are manufacturers who use recyclables in their processes and generate sufficient volumes of a material to justify direct contact with an end user. Research local markets to discover what materials each business accepts, how to prepare the materials and if the business will pick up the material (for a fee?) or if they must be delivered.
The main points in developing a collection system are a central storage area, personnel and material preparation. Containers for recyclables can range from corrugated boxes to those made of a variety of materials designed specifically for recycling. Consider where containers should be placed, quantity needed, size, shape and appropriate design. The central storage area should be clean, dry and free of fire hazards. Covered storage areas are necessary to prevent litter and protect quality if located outside. Collection personnel are designated to collect recyclables form various areas of the building and deliver them to the central storage area. If the business must deliver recyclables, delivery personnel also must be designated. A collection schedule is helpful. If marketing requirements include materials preparation such as crushing or bundling consider further staffing requirements. Maintaining good quality is essential for ensuring the materials are marketable and to obtain the highest prices possible.
Based on the waste audit the task force may decide to substitute products that are recyclable and/or contain recycled content or revise existing procurement policies. Buying items that are recyclable and ones made form recycled materials helps close the recycling loop.
The task force should design an ongoing educational program to inform staff and workers about he program, its goals and the value of waste reduction and recycling. This should include newsletter articles, signs, posters and flyers.
Follow Up Audits
Periodically review the success of your program. The review can include determining the reduction of waste sent to the landfill as well as determining what percentage of the total waste stream is being recycled. Having a good plan is important, but in order for it to be successful it needs to be followed.