In 2015, when Minnesota Waste Wise first met with Redeemer Lutheran Church, their recycling service only allowed for the collection of paper and cardboard. Harvey French, the Lead Custodian for both Redeemer locations (Fridley and Coon Rapids), wanted to make some improvements and begin recycling bottles and cans. Waste Wise met with French and conducted a walk-through of the church. Here they discussed opportunities for recycling improvements, namely upgrading their service to single stream recycling. Waste Wise helped Redeemer Lutheran Church connect with their service provider and presented Harvey with a report outlining recommendations for improvements and best practices for collection of recyclables. Redeemer was ultimately able to start a single stream service with their current service provider ACE Solid Waste.
With single stream recycling service in place, Harvey worked with Waste Wise to utilize Anoka County’s business recycling grant to obtain new bins for both of their church locations. Redeemer chose to use color-coded bins for offices and kitchens and stainless steel bins they were able to brand with their logo for the high traffic common areas such as the front entry and worship spaces. Redeemer let their congregation know about the new recycling program through announcements at services and signage on the bins. “A lot of people are really happy there is an option for recycling now,” French beamed, and then added, “The kids are having fun with it too. They are excited to report back to their parents when they have recycled something.”
Results were better than they had hoped, so much in fact they have, “changed their recycling pick up from every other week to weekly because it was always filling up!” With the new single stream recycling program in place, Redeemer estimates they will divert 28,912 pounds of recyclable materials from the Fridley church and 21,684 pounds from their Coon Rapids location per year.
French was thrilled about the results and the reaction from the congregants, “It’s going really well here at Fridley and they really like it at Coon Rapids too!” French remains engaged in continuing to make changes at the churches to further reduce their waste.