What: Establish a well labelled recycling program to capture the high volumes of recyclable drink containers during funerals.
Why: To reduce their dependence on trash service and do the right thing for the environment.
How: Pairing color coded trash and recycling bins with highly visible signage to engage as many people as possible in recycling.
Results: Completely filling an 8 yard recycling dumpster at every funeral. This results in an estimated 44,480 pounds of recycling being diverted from the trash every year!
Legacy Funeral Home in Fridley provides “Culturally Sensitive Funeral Services” for the Hmong community. These services last for multiple days and involve the cooking and eating of many meals and snacks. Before meeting with the MN Waste Wise Foundation Legacy was relying heavily on their trash services and was recycling very little. Manager Deu Xiong-Vang decided it was time for a change and looked to the Anoka County Business Recycling grant to help her make these changes.
Following Waste Wise’s recommendations, Deu chose to add recycling receptacles wherever there was a trash option and make sure that all of these bins were blue in color and paired with industry standard signage. Additionally, Deu chose to add a recycling receptacle outside and in the kitchen to capture as much material as possible.
The results from these improvements have been wonderful. Deu has noticed that people are using the bins very well and that these efforts have drastically reduced how quickly their trash is getting filled. “People aren’t here to see the recycling, but I think it is a good thing to have,” commented Deu, “We’re getting better, and the signs with pictures really help.”
Legacy’s results are backing up the value of their recycling program. They are now filling an 8 yard dumpster with recycling from every funeral service. Assuming that Legacy continues to host around 40 funerals per year, this means that they are now recycling nearly 45,000 pounds of material every year. That is more than the weight of a Greyhound bus!
While Legacy is excited about their progress, Deu realizes that there is potential to improve even more by starting organics recycling. “We know that there is a lot of food waste too, but we’ve struggled with this at our other locations. It’s hard to get clean organics for recycling.” All told, this improvement is a great first step and responsibly addresses the large volume of recyclable container waste at Legacy.