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The MAX-R BLOG

Waste Awareness Campaigns:  Next Wave to Accelerate Sustainable Consumption?

Logistics, Recycling Topics, Sustainability

Waste Awareness Campaigns: Next Wave to Accelerate Sustainable Consumption?

December 09, 2016, Jenni Moon

The consumer psyche is complex and challenging to fully comprehend. Marketers work tirelessly to figure out ways to get people to change their spend patterns, all the while influencing people’s tastes and preferences. It’s no different when it comes to getting people to understand the magnitude of their impacts around waste.

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The Road to Achieving Zero Waste at your Next Event

Operations, Planning, Waste and Recycling

The Road to Achieving Zero Waste at your Next Event

September 14, 2016, Lindy Farrar

Working towards and achieving a zero waste event may seem like a daunting task. Yes, it is not an easy feat to divert all of your waste away from landfill; however there are several common strategies to working towards a zero waste goal at your next event. It is necessary to remember it is the steps along your journey, not your end product that will make your goal have a lasting effect and a legacy for future generations.

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ADA and Its Impact on Recycling

Logistics, Recycling Topics, Waste and Recycling

ADA and Its Impact on Recycling

July 27, 2016, Roger Guzowski

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that sometimes I don’t see things quite like other people in my field (if you are a longtime colleague of mine, you have just finished thinking “that’s an understatement” after reading the preceding sentence). One area where I often see things a little differently regards recycling regulations.

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Successful Waste Management Takes Commitment, Not Cash

Planning, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

Successful Waste Management Takes Commitment, Not Cash

June 15, 2016, Amanda Simons

Recycling has come a long way since the mid 80’s when the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” slogan became the official chant of the green movement.

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Athletic Field Recycling

Best practices, Recycling Process, Waste and Recycling

Athletic Field Recycling

May 04, 2016, Roger Guzowski

It’s that time of year. The ball fields are ready. The players are ready. Is your recycling program?

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Defining Waste & Recycling Success

Planning, Recycling Topics, Sustainability

Defining Waste & Recycling Success

April 13, 2016, Roger Guzowski

In 1806 Noah Webster published A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, credited as being the first truly American dictionary. Now, over a hundred years later, I feel that similar skills are needed within the recycling and sustainable-materials-management industry.

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Can Branded Bins Augment Your CSR Efforts

Best practices, Waste and Recycling

Can Branded Bins Augment Your CSR Efforts

July 23, 2015, Roger Guzowski

Branding is generally an attempt to associate your product or company with certain ideas or images to clearly differentiate it from others in the field. At its most basic, it is little different than its roots, in which ranchers would mark their animals so that they could be easily identified when roaming or grazing together, a practice that dates back to the ancient Egyptians or beyond. Eventually, that same concept was used in commerce so that when similar products from different manufacturers were shipped or sold together, each product could be clearly identified.

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Restricted Access

Education, Waste and Recycling

Restricted Access

April 02, 2015, Roger Guzowski

For recycling to work, you have to segregate the materials that you want to recycle from those that you don’t. If you didn’t have a restrictive lid you would typically rely on a label on the front of your bin to identify that stream. But for bin labels to work most effectively, you need a clear line of sight and adequate time to read the label.

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Recycling Program Budget

Planning, Recycling Topics, Waste and Recycling

Recycling Program Budget

December 19, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Successfully growing and sustaining recycling programs can sometimes depend on something as simple as where you budget recycling expenses. As budgets are being set for next fiscal year, now is the time to think about what you want accomplish next year, how you want to fund it, and perhaps most importantly, where you want to fund it.

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Education in Residence Halls, Part 2

Education, Planning, Recycling Process

Education in Residence Halls, Part 2

October 23, 2014, Roger Guzowski

In part 1 of this post, I proposed that the most effective way to deliver this education is a hybrid system that uses the existing access of the resident assistants (RAs) and bolsters it with a smaller group of expert and enthusiastic enviro-liaisons.

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Education in Residence Halls, Part 1

Education, Planning, Recycling Process

Education in Residence Halls, Part 1

October 21, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Residence halls are home for any resident students that you have on campus for the 8+ months per year that they live there. That means that at some point you are going to need to do recycling education in the residence halls. The question is how.

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Improve Cost Effectiveness of Your Recycling Program, Part 2

Planning, Recycling Process, Waste and Recycling

Improve Cost Effectiveness of Your Recycling Program, Part 2

October 08, 2014, Roger Guzowski

A while back, I wrote a couple of blog posts about funding. They focused primarily on outside funding. But rather than just looking for outside funding sources, have you looked to see whether there are ways to enhance the revenues that you receive for your recyclables to get you the extra funding that you need? What items on your wish list could you fund if you took advantage of those opportunities? Do you have filet mignon that you are selling as ground beef? Have you looked at that before you ask someone else for money? By weight, most of the traditional recyclables on a college campus are high grade printing and writing papers.

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Improve Cost Effectiveness of Your Recycling Program, Part 1

Planning, Recycling Topics, Waste and Recycling

Improve Cost Effectiveness of Your Recycling Program, Part 1

September 19, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Ah, that magical moment when you lift up the couch cushions to clean and find money that had fallen between the cushions. It’s never enough for big expenses like the rent or mortgage, but sometimes it can be enough to get something you didn’t think you had enough money for, especially if you save it up over time. A while back, I wrote a couple of blog posts about funding. They focused primarily on outside funding. But rather than just looking for outside funding sources, are there opportunities to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of your existing program? If you take advantage of those opportunities, would it be like finding extra money in your couch cushions, money that you didn’t realize you had? What items on your wish list could you fund if you took advantage of those opportunities?

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When the Coast is Clear

When the Coast is Clear

September 11, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Whether or not you officially close on Labor Day, attendance drops dramatically when kids return to school and the family vacations come to an end. However, as you prepare for your offseason, the end of the season brings some recycling and solid waste decisions.

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Sustainability at Student Orientation

Education, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

Sustainability at Student Orientation

August 08, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Orientation for new college & university students is almost here. Whether your orientation is a weekend or an entire week, it can be an important but tricky opportunity. At many schools you have every member of the incoming class concentrated into a handful of events or even a single event. If you can get into that event, or events, it provides a tremendous opportunity to access and convey information to the entire incoming student body.

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What You Buy & What You Throw Away

Best practices, Operations, Waste and Recycling

What You Buy & What You Throw Away

July 22, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Somewhere along the line we have become distracted by aggregated waste audits and national studies. In the process we too often miss a simple correlation.

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Riding the Market

Logistics, Recycling Topics, Waste and Recycling

Riding the Market

June 19, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Several months ago, I wrote a blog entry called “Knowing what you’ve got” to try to help people understand that recyclables are commodities and to encourage people to recognize the various grades of material they might have. However, in re-reading that post, I wanted to return to that topic to help people understand how to use that information to market their recyclables.

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Window of Opportunity

Best practices, Logistics, Waste and Recycling

Window of Opportunity

June 10, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Sometimes timing is everything. Or if not everything, timing can sometimes have a significant impact on your program’s success.

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Know Your Campus, Part 3

Education, Planning, Recycling Process

Know Your Campus, Part 3

June 06, 2014, Roger Guzowski

For part 3 of this “Know Your Campus” series, I am going to focus on location. Some folks in real estate are fond of suggesting that location is everything. I wouldn’t go that far, but location can have a profound impact on how you manage your recycling and sustainability programs. In terms of location, I would suggest there are 3 main categories of schools: Urban campuses, Semi-urban/suburban campuses, Rural campuses

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Know Your Campus, Part 2

Education, Operations, Planning

Know Your Campus, Part 2

May 30, 2014, Roger Guzowski

For this part 2, I am focusing on some of the differences between public and private schools. Every school has a complicated mix of funding sources, a lot of which I am going to gloss over (consider this the intro 100-level version). For those of you who are recent students making the transition to coordinator or who are folks new to working with schools, I am hoping this overview helps.

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Different Than Home

Best practices, Operations, Planning, Waste and Recycling

Different Than Home

May 14, 2014, Roger Guzowski

When you set up a recycling program, one struggle that you often encounter is that some people think they already know everything about recycling.

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The New Math, Part 5

Recycling Process, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

The New Math, Part 5

April 25, 2014, Roger Guzowski

A tremendous amount of the energy that we consume and greenhouse gasses that we emit worldwide comes from making “stuff.”

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The New Math, Part 4

Recycling Process, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

The New Math, Part 4

April 24, 2014, Roger Guzowski

There is a new math of greenhouse gas accounting by which some people are viewing and evaluating everything...

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The New Math, Part 3

Recycling Process, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

The New Math, Part 3

April 23, 2014, Roger Guzowski

I would argue that any climate action plan that omits stuff - the stuff we buy, the stuff we use, the stuff we throw away - is at best incomplete.

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The New Math, Part 2

Recycling Process, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

The New Math, Part 2

April 22, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Recycling, composting and reusing materials reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas emissions at various points in the manufacturing process.

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The New Math, Part 1

Recycling Process, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

The New Math, Part 1

April 21, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Most metrics like WARM that address the lifecycle impacts of "stuff" do not include all of the ancillary impacts related to it.

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Know Your Campus, Part 1

Education, Operations, Planning

Know Your Campus, Part 1

April 10, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Every campus is a little bit different. Ironically, if you break a campus down into individual parts (e.g. traditional dormitory-style residence halls, apartment/suite style residence halls, faculty offices, departmental offices, cash-operations dining, dining commons, etc.), each individual part is actually pretty darn similar. But what makes each campus completely unique is the combination of parts, scale of the parts, the overall academic philosophy, and the fundamental business model of the campus. For the next few blog posts, I am planning to focus on some of the biggest differences and some fundamental changes those differences bring.

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Measuring Net Improvements

Metrics, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

Measuring Net Improvements

March 20, 2014, Roger Guzowski

We talk a lot in absolute terms: “zero waste,” “zero emissions.” But what do we really mean? Are we talking about net improvements, or are we merely transferring problems?

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Storage: Recycling Logistics, Part 2

Landfill, Logistics, Waste and Recycling

Storage: Recycling Logistics, Part 2

February 28, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Storing stuff, at least commercially, can be harder than you think. When you grow up with a family member that is a borderline hoarder, that can be a surprising realization. After all, if one person can store every issue of Consumer Reports since 1978 just in case they need to look up a review of something they buy at a yard/tag/garage sale (I wish I was making that part up), you would think that a campus of 10,000 could fairly easily store a trailer-load of baled paper in order to ship it to market.

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The Theory of Relativity, Part 2

Best practices, Logistics, Waste and Recycling

The Theory of Relativity, Part 2

February 15, 2014, Roger Guzowski

Nothing exists in a vacuum. There are alternatives. The degree to which something is good or bad depends on what you compare it to. We need to stop thinking in black and white terms, and embrace the shades of gray. And by shades of gray, I am referring to the full spectrum of alternatives, not the E.L. James bestsellers that cause me to get funny looks from some clerks when I go to the hardware store to buy electrical cord zip ties.

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The Theory of Relativity, Part 1

Best practices, Logistics, Recycling Topics

The Theory of Relativity, Part 1

February 06, 2014, Roger Guzowski

I think this issue of relativity is something that needs to be addressed in the recycling and sustainability industry. Too often we throw around terms. We declare that something is sustainable, that something is “green,” that something will save money, or will save energy. Or conversely, we ask whether something is one of those things. But, too often, we fail to give context. The truthfulness of our statements or the answers to our questions may depend on what we compare something to. Context and alternatives matter.

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Impact, Part 2

Best practices, Logistics, Recycling Process

Impact, Part 2

November 07, 2013, Roger Guzowski

As I have said in several presentations, if the only thing you care about is keeping stuff out of the landfill, littering works as well as recycling or any other sustainable resource management activity. At some point, we need to look beyond keeping stuff out of the landfill and really look at the impact of what we are doing. What are the financial impacts of your alternatives? What are the environmental impacts or the social impacts?

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Impact, Part 1

Best practices, Logistics, Recycling Process

Impact, Part 1

November 01, 2013, Roger Guzowski

Why do you recycle? At some point, we have to talk about impact. Because not all recycling is created equal. How you recycle stuff matters. In some cases it matters as much if not more than whether you recycle at all.

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Sustainability Projects and Student Groups

Education, Operations, Planning

Sustainability Projects and Student Groups

September 12, 2013, Roger Guzowski

As a staff member or administrator, working with student clubs and organizations can sometimes be both the most rewarding experience and sometimes the most frustrating. Don’t let this potentially great experience be doomed by false expectations.

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Pre-Consumer Composting

Compost, Planning, Sustainability

Pre-Consumer Composting

August 30, 2013, Roger Guzowski

There are many reasons why people decide to compost food waste. In some cases, you might be trying to proactively make your operation more sustainable. In other cases, you might only be trying to ward off a group of riled up activists who are approaching your office like villagers storming the gates of Frankenstein’s castle, pitchforks and torches in hand. Regardless of why you are composting food waste, when people think of food waste, they sometimes only think about post-consumer plate scrapings.

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Helping Students Understand Staff

Best practices, Operations

Helping Students Understand Staff

August 28, 2013, Roger Guzowski

Every year, the Beloit Mindset List tries to help faculty and staff relate to the mindset of the incoming 1st year college class. As a faculty or staff member, this is a terrifying list, where you realize how old you are getting. But what about the reverse? How does an incoming class understand the 30-65 year old faculty and staff around them?

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Compost Apocalypse - Is Your Facility Prepared?

Compost, Planning, Sustainability

Compost Apocalypse - Is Your Facility Prepared?

August 23, 2013, Roger Guzowski

With a little planning you can make a food composting program a success – and something that will be positive for everyone involved.

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A Picture Says 1,000 Words, Part Two

Best practices, Recycling Process, Waste and Recycling

A Picture Says 1,000 Words, Part Two

June 12, 2013, Roger Guzowski

A bulletin board completely covered with posters. A cacophony of words and images passing by when you are already overloaded on words and images from hours of time reading textbooks, staring at a laptop or sitting in class. So how do you make your posters and promotional posters stand out? How do you make sure they are more than just white noise?

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A Picture Says 1,000 Words, Part One

Best practices, Recycling Topics, Waste and Recycling

A Picture Says 1,000 Words, Part One

June 05, 2013, Roger Guzowski

A sign on a recycling bin trying to convey information as you walk past. Yes a picture is worth a thousand words. But what words is that picture saying? Is it conveying the information that you want people to understand?

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Targeting Your Message

Best practices, Recycling Process, Recycling Topics

Targeting Your Message

March 29, 2013, Roger Guzowski

Hopefully before reading this you have sorted out the who, what, when, where, why and how of your recycling education. Now, the best way to explain this is with some hunting references and analogies. For those of you who are opposed to hunting for food, before you start dusting off your old Ted Nugent hate mail to resend to me, and lest this content gets lost in any controversy about hunting, let’s assume I am talking about nature photography. The analogies work either way.

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Recycling PET Clamshells

Best practices, Logistics, Waste and Recycling

Recycling PET Clamshells

March 14, 2013, Roger Guzowski

The clear plastic clamshell. Other than bottled water, I’m not sure anything instills a more divisive reaction on campus. It is the darling of many to-go food packagers and dining managers for its display properties, a chance to showcase the care that went into making a food item. For many campus diners, it allows for portability and mobility for a wide variety of dietary choices, not just the previously available paper-wrapped deli sandwich. Yet clamshells have also been the bane of many campus environmental groups, a very visual sign of the wastes associated with grab-n-go dining, and the target of many environmental initiatives.

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I Want a Pony: Recycling Logistics, Part 1

Logistics

I Want a Pony: Recycling Logistics, Part 1

February 20, 2013, Roger Guzowski

Wanting to divert something is very different than being able to viably do so. Without an understanding of logistics, you run the risk that your recycling/solid waste/sustainable materials management master plan has little more viability than a condo-dwelling child’s “I want a pony” wish list to Santa.

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Compost Kin, Part 2

Compost

Compost Kin, Part 2

January 31, 2013, Roger Guzowski

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Compost Kin, Part 1

Compost

Compost Kin, Part 1

January 23, 2013, Roger Guzowski

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Embracing the Mundane

Best practices, Planning, Sustainability

Embracing the Mundane

January 18, 2013, Roger Guzowski

I want to change the world. It has been a rallying cry for folks entering the environmental field for a generation. As I near 25 years in this field, I realized something. That I have seen more programs fail, not because of a lack of big ideas, or great ideals, but because of mundane details.

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Aligning Chores, Part 1
The Bell Curve, An Interlude
Beyond Sustainability, Part 2
Cardboard Recycling & Student Move In

Education, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

Cardboard Recycling & Student Move In

August 07, 2012, Roger Guzowski

Cardboard is coming. A lot of it.

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Recycling at Student Move In
A Segmented Approach to Recycling Education
Understanding Why
Everything I Know I Learned from Where?
Getting Home Safely

Operations, Planning, Waste and Recycling

Getting Home Safely

February 16, 2012, Roger Guzowski

In my decades in the recycling field, I have seen a lot of facilities, seen a lot of recycling plans, and had a lot of conversations about recycling programs. Yet one that will always stick with me was on a tour of a recycling processing facility in which there was an operations manager who said very proudly, “our number one goal is to make sure our people get home safe at the end of the day.”

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It's Nothing Personal

Best practices, Planning, Recycling Topics

It's Nothing Personal

November 29, 2011, Roger Guzowski

Beyond personal interests and motivations though, there is a series of “business decisions” that drive all of the decision-making at any institution or business. Understanding these drivers is often the key to getting the support that you need for your program.

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Balance Recycling Drivers

Planning, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

Balance Recycling Drivers

November 22, 2011, Roger Guzowski

We focus a lot on making recycling easy. We try to make it easy for waste generators to recycle. We try to make it easy to understand. We try to make recycling bins easy to find. Hopefully we focus on trying to make it easy for staff to collect. Yet somehow, too often, we forget to make recycling easy to support. Making your program easy to support is critical to getting the administrative support that you need to sustain the program.

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Paved with Good Intentions

Waste and Recycling

Paved with Good Intentions

November 10, 2011, Roger Guzowski

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Strength in Numbers
Understanding Metrics: Measuring Your Recycling Rate
How Do You Measure Up?
Improving the Economics of Your Recycling Program
How On Earth Do You Reach Students?

Education, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

How On Earth Do You Reach Students?

September 27, 2011, Roger Guzowski

I have been asked some version of that question more times that I can count by more people than I can count. But the same question is asked in many different areas of many different target audiences: residents, employees, etc.

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Surviving a Waste Audit, Part 2

Operations, Planning, Waste and Recycling

Surviving a Waste Audit, Part 2

September 08, 2011, Roger Guzowski

I think anyone should experience a full-blown waste sort at least once. As a learning experience, it is a real eye opener. However, I don’t think it is often necessary to determine whether or not you should target something for recycling or waste reduction efforts.

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Surviving a Waste Audit, Part 1

Operations, Planning, Waste and Recycling

Surviving a Waste Audit, Part 1

September 06, 2011, Roger Guzowski

Whether you are just starting out, or trying to figure out what to do next, you can’t divert stuff out of the trash if you don’t know what’s available in the trash to be diverted.

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They're Coming, Are You Ready? Part 2

Education, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

They're Coming, Are You Ready? Part 2

August 04, 2011, Roger Guzowski

In part 1 of this post, I talked about how much the world has changed. I urged readers to think about their recycling programs and to update them accordingly. The question is how?

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They're Coming. Are You Ready? Part 1

Education, Sustainability, Waste and Recycling

They're Coming. Are You Ready? Part 1

August 02, 2011, Roger Guzowski

The class of 2015 is almost upon us (the year in which the entering 1st year class will graduate from a traditional 4-year college)

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Evaluating Where You are in Your Recycling Program’s Evolution, Part 2
Has Your Recycling Program Evolved?
How High-Aesthetic Recycling Bins Help to Promote Your Sustainability Efforts
Better Aesthetics Equal Better Results
Recycling is a Manufacturing Process
Finding the Right Level

Best practices, Education, Waste and Recycling

Finding the Right Level

June 07, 2011, Roger Guzowski

For many student-run recycling programs, or other pilot programs, we are at that point in the year where they need to start thinking about administrative support, either to continue their program next semester, or to start thinking about building support to expand the program next year. Because of that, let me take a departure from talking about measuring recycling rates and talk for a post or two about getting support for your recycling program.

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