MARCH 2009

Recycling program earns partnership award

Waste Management and the city of Manhattan Beach, California, have received the 2009 “Outstanding Award” for public/private partnerships from the Mayors Business Council, a division of the United States Conference of Mayors. The partnership combined Waste Management with the city, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District and Planet Pals, a parent volunteer group, to improve the environmental profiles and programs at the district’s seven public schools.

Launched in November 2007, the partnership set out to enhance recycling programs, increase landfill diversion, reduce waste and educate students and school staff about sustainability. Waste Management performed a comprehensive district-wide waste audit and discovered numerous ways to increase recycling and reduce waste. The company audited seven schools – five elementary schools, one middle school and one high school.

“After the audit was complete, we created a comprehensive report for the district and city staff that included an individualized “green plan” for each school,” said Susan Moulton, area director of municipal marketing. “We are thrilled to report that the district has realized about a 23 percent increase in recycling and diversion rates from last year. And we are honored by the Mayors Business Council’s recognition and excited that the program may be replicated in schools across the country.”

Elements of Waste Management’s green plan included:

  • 100 percent participation in office and classroom recycling;
  • A district-wide recycling system in all school cafeterias and lunch areas, including training for cafeteria employees and education materials for students;
  • Increased recycling service levels at five sites and increased recycling capacity at all sites, including lunch tables, playground, classrooms and administrative areas;
  • On-campus composting training for school staff and parents, and lunchtime composting programs led by Planet Pal parent volunteers at two sites;
  • A $5,000 grant awarded by Waste Management and its partnering agency, Keep America Beautiful, to help each school in its sustainability efforts;
  • An “end of school year” recycling program for teachers to dispose of all leftover classroom materials;
  • A district-wide “green procurement” policy.