What: Implementing organics recycling throughout the church and pre-school while also improving single stream recycling collection.
Why: To reduce the amount of waste going into the trash and educate their congregation and students about responsible recycling practices.
How: Obtained a grant from Anoka County that provided new color coded recycling containers and signs; also received a six month supply of compostable products.
Results: Following implementation and a volunteer training session led by Waste Wise, Christ Lutheran Church is diverting 15,600 pounds of organics recycling and 13,000 pounds of additional single stream recycling annually
Cathy Akerman got in touch with the MN Waste Wise Foundation in early 2017 after she learned about the Anoka County business recycling grant from another church at which she works. Cathy was excited to implement a similar organics recycling program at Christ Lutheran, and she was determined to educate the children, teachers, and the congregation in order to guarantee recycling success.
Having already been part of an organics recycling implementation at her other church, Cathy knew how to ensure a successful start to the program. With Waste Wise’s help, Cathy chose color coded three stream recycling stations to place throughout the building. Cathy also made sure that every desk was equipped with a recycling option so all office paper and other recyclables would be collected.
With all of the tools and signs in place, it was time to educate the various leaders of the pre-school and volunteer organizations, as well as the staff at the church. Waste Wise led a recycling training session where the details of the new organics recycling program were covered and everyone had a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns about the program.
With the program successfully underway, Cathy has been very pleased with the results saying, “It’s working very well for everyone! The children seem to understand it the best.” Church leadership is also eager to voice their approval of the new recycling programs. Senior Pastor Kent Lee said, “People around the church have been talking about the new recycling and are really taking the time to think about what they’re throwing away,” adding “the signs are extremely helpful.” Pastor Sarah Anderson is also very impressed by her congregation’s recycling efforts saying, “We’ve all got the right equipment to encourage recycling and everyone is getting smarter about it.”
Christ Lutheran has achieved recycling success on two levels. Not only have they educated hundreds of people about organics recycling and the environmental importance of recycling, but they are also annually diverting over 28,000 pounds of waste material that was previously considered “trash.” Now all of their food scraps, compostable products, paper towels, and more recycling than ever are getting new life as compost and other products made from recycled materials.