Many organizations think they are doing their part for the environment by having recycling bins available in their facility, but the St. Paul River Center is serious about actually being able to recycle or compost the waste from their events. Instead of allowing people to independently decide what is trash and what is not, the Center had staff members at each of its stations directing people on how to properly dispose of their waste.

Far more items were recyclable than I would have expected or done on my own, including silverware and seemingly-plastic salad containers, but I was informed that they were corn-based and could be reclaimed. I have written before that one of the challenges of recycling efforts is the inconsistency in what is allowable in different jurisdictions and as a result, the bins are often so contaminated with incorrect items that the whole container needs to be thrown into the trash. In St. Paul, not only was this fate averted, but the staff who gave directions served as both a customer service and environmental ambassador.

Yes, there was a labor cost, but it was small compared to the environmental savings. The next time your organization touts an initiative, go the extra mile to be serious about implementing it. Do what it takes to truly do what you profess is important.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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