What: Implemented organic materials recycling in the labs and single stream recycling in the offices.
Why: To find a more environmentally sound disposal method for organic materials and focus employee efforts on being more committed to reducing their footprint.
How: Partnered with Waste Wise and Anoka County to receive grant funding for bins and compostable products. The Medtronic Coon Rapids facility also held a staff-wide training session regarding the new recycling procedures.
Results: Over 21,000 pounds of single stream recycling and 62,000 pounds of organics recycling being diverted from the waste stream annually.
The Medtronic facility in Coon Rapids was able to make big improvements regarding its environmental impact in 2016. By partnering with the MN Waste Wise Foundation and Anoka County, the facility received technical assistance and grant funding which provided the tools they needed to drastically improve single stream recycling and implement a new organic materials recycling program.
Waste Wise first met with the drivers of these new recycling programs, Brad Hoium, Senior Principal Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Specialist and Corey Leet, Research Operations Manager, in early 2016. At this meeting, Waste Wise toured the facility and identified areas of opportunity for increased recycling opportunities. They found that organic materials were going into the trash. Waste Wise was able to work with Medtronic and Sanimax to confirm that this material would be acceptable at the Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Commercial Composting facility. The team began planning a way to collect and recycle this material into usable compost. Now that they are composting this material rather than disposing of it in the trash, the Coon Rapids facility is diverting an estimated 62,400 pounds of material annually. Medtronic hopes to increase the compostable material being diverted from the trash waste stream with the potential implementation of office-wide organics recycling in 2017. By providing well labeled green organics recycling bins and offering compostable disposable service-ware such as cups, plates, and cutlery, they hope to create an effective program site-wide. Research Operations Manager Corey Leet was excited about these improvements saying, “We plan to ensure that all of our employees have the opportunity to contribute to our waste reduction efforts.”
The facility also utilized the Anoka County business recycling grant program to improve their existing single stream recycling program. “Our recycling program is a lot clearer to employees now,” commented Leet, adding that Medtronic is in the process of generating their own custom signage to augment the program. Beyond just adding signage, Medtronic is motivating its employees to recycle in various other ways. For instance, Waste Wise came to speak at a quarterly meeting to promote the recycling program to Medtronic employees. “These improvements have been a morale boost for our employees, it has us more environmentally focused and we’re developing new and creative ways to recycle, like how we might get our personal protective equipment recycled,” said Leet.
Between organic materials recycling and single stream recycling, Medtronic efforts result in diverting an estimated 83,000 pounds of material from local landfills, an achievement that earned well-deserved pride in everyone involved with this project.