City of Missouri City Creates Robust Recycling Program from Scratch
Workplace Type: City Government
Key Learning: Clear labels and a central recycling location are fundamental to creating a robust workplace recycling program from scratch.
Their Action: In 2012, Missouri City’s new Green Committee wanted recycling receptacles in all departments and city buildings, from City Hall to the Fire Department. In true “green” fashion, City Hall employees decided to reuse containers they had on hand rather than purchase new receptacles. By creating a centralized “Recycling Hub” in the City Hall lunchroom, the Green Committee made recycling both visible and easy. They used a blackboard and chalk to divide the hub into sections by material, and gave plastic storage boxes and other receptacles a second life as recycling bins. The hub was intended to create inspiration for the city’s other departments, all of whom implemented a recycling program in 2012.
In addition to central recycling locations in areas like the cafeteria and copy rooms, the city provided optional desk–side recycling bins, which employees are responsible for emptying. Within six months, Missouri City was seeing weekly reductions in material sent to landfills. Additionally, employees began asking for more information and requested an expansion of the material collected. The city responded by expanding their program beyond collection of traditional materials to recycling ink cartridges, batteries, light bulbs, and plastic film. Today at City Hall, a container sits next to the sink to collect coffee grounds for landscaping.
Words of Advice: “Once people understand the objective, once they see that there is a purpose for a change in their established behaviors, they will move and work to be part of the success.” – Penny Hornsby, GIS Specialist