Waste Management donates $100,000 for recycling education

Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Stamford, Connecticut, and the Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, with $100,000 in funding from Houston-based Waste Management (WM), have provided 40 communities within 10 states in the Southeast the opportunity to join a recycling workshop at Wastecon 2018, which took place Aug. 20-23 in Nashville, Tennessee. This training program brings together community recycling leaders to improve their respective recycling programs.

The Wastecon workshop, Fighting Contamination: Tools and Approaches to Improve Residential Recycling Quality, ran on Aug. 20. The Recycling Partnership, in partnership with KAB and the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC), Hendersonville, North Carolina, facilitated the workshop, which was designed to engage the audience and present proven best management practices and operational protocols shown to decrease contamination and increase the capture of recyclables. Participants learned tactics and practical strategies for operations and outreach that are designed to address contamination.

The workshop is part of a three-month program that includes pre- and postworkshop webinars. Pretraining is designed to allow participants to conduct a community recycling assessment to capture impact measurement, according to KAB. Postmeasurement guidance will cover recycling quality improvements and education through a webinar.

Following the workshop, KAB, SERDC and the Recycling Partnership will host a webinar to highlight and share how participants in this workshop are deploying contamination fighting tactics in their own community.

Participants were required to attend the four-hour workshop at Wastecon and be willing to implement some of the contamination reduction strategies offered. They also must share their findings on a follow-up webinar toward the end of the year and through a brief postimplementation survey to KAB about how they were able to minimize contamination in their communities.

“To ensure successful recycling programs, it’s vital that our leaders have the resources and recycling education needed to spearhead change in their community environments,” Helen Lowman, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful, says. “Keep America Beautiful is grateful for Waste Management’s continued support of the Keep America Beautiful mission. This contribution gives our hardworking affiliates access to invaluable information and training.”

“Recycling literacy is critical to the success and sustainability of any recycling program,” Tara Hemmer, senior vice president of operations, safety and environmental compliance for WM, says. “We are proud to support this collaboration and work together to improve recycling education and programs.”

Workshop organizers encourage attendees to use social media channels to highlight the importance of the program and share ways to effectively reduce recycling contamination. To help rally for recycling behavior change, participants can share a recycling fact or other information learned during the workshop using #DoBeautifulThings.