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.

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