St. Philips Lutheran Church


What: Improving recycling collection by purchasing more bins and displaying effective signage.

Why: To reduce the amount of material in their trash and have a positive impact on their community and environment.

How: Worked with Waste Wise to improve internal collection procedures with the help of Anoka Business Recycling Grant funding.

Results: Diverting an additional 8,601 lbs. of recyclable material annually!

St. Phillips Lutheran

When Minnesota Waste Wise first met with St. Philips Lutheran Church, they already had a recycling program in place but it was clear some minor improvements to their collection could maximize their recycling potential. Church Administrator, Katie Swenstad, was excited about the opportunity to work with Waste Wise to get assistance in reducing waste and improving their current practices. Following an on-site meeting in April 0f 2015, Waste Wise helped Katie apply for the Anoka County Business Recycling Grant to purchase bins to pair next to trash bins around the office, hospitality areas, and gym. Following the best practices for collection of recyclables, color-coded bins were purchased and strategically placed so no one would ever have to search for a recycling bin. Following bin placement announcements were made to the congregation to educate members about the improved recycling program.

Katie is thrilled about the improvements that made their recycling program successful, and the enthusiastic responses of the members and staff. “Everybody is positive about the program. Everyone was so excited when they found out we had been approved for the grant. I’m just very happy with everything!” she reported. Besides noticeably diverting more recyclable material, Katie was surprised to notice their recycling bins were now full every week, while trash was hardly filling. Two weeks into the program, it was evident they needed another recycling bin. “Our garbage used to always overflow,” she said, “Now it’s our recycling that is almost always full. We change certain garbage bins now only once every couple weeks instead of weekly. Plus, I love how easy the bins are to clean up and they look so nice!”

Katie is excited members and staff at St. Philips Lutheran Church have responded so well to the program and as a result, have achieved much more successful results than anticipated. All five 96-gallon carts are full at their every-other-week pickup, resulting in an estimated 8,601 pounds of recyclable material being diverted from their waste stream annually. They hope to start using a 4-yard dumpster so they can recycle even more material! Waste Wise and St. Philips Lutheran Church will remain in collaboration as they continue making improvements to reduce their waste, recycle as much as possible, and uphold their commitment to the community by having a positive impact on the environment as a whole.