No Waste: Increasing Recycling at Lake Elmo Park Reserve Swim Pond

Summary

Impact Statement: 
Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment led a multi-sector quality improvement project and increased the recycling rate at a county park. Expansion of this model to all county parks will further protect the environment and contribute to Minnesota's statewide goal of a 75% recycling rate by 2030.
Summary: 

Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment (PHE) in Minnesota, partnering with the county Parks Department, identified a lack of accessible recycling at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve swim pond. An initial waste sort, where 3 days' worth of refuse was sorted into trash, recycling, and compost, found a recycling rate of only 1.9%. PHE had not partnered with the Parks Department on a large-scale project like this before and was looking forward to this collaboration. 

Waste and recycling collection processes were mapped, and root causes were identified from all stakeholders. A consensus workshop determined priority areas and tasks, including working in tandem with a redesign project; allowing the new recycling bins to coincide with already planned construction; placing new, color-coded bins at the swim pond; combining trash and recycling collection; using new bin labels with pictures and multiple languages; and adding a new recycling contract to allow for dumpsters on site, eliminating the need to haul materials off site to a centralized collection location. A follow-up waste sort in 2016 indicated that the recycling rate increased to 21% as a result of these changes.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Washington County PHE
Citation: 

Giesen , J. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. No Waste: Increasing Recycling at Lake Elmo Park Reserve Swim Pond. Mon, 08/14/2017 - 09:02. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/no-waste-increasing-recycling-lake-elmo-park-reserve-swim-pond. Accessed October 16, 2018.

Submission Status: 
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