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FamilyMeans is a nonprofit family counseling and support organization.

Challenges

Nonprofit organization FamilyMeans, reached out to Ramsey and Washington County to improve their recycling and reduce waste at their Stillwater location. While the organization had a recycling program in place, a site visit conducted by recycling experts shared several improvements could reduce the amount of waste they were sending to the landfill.

How We Helped

FamilyMeans increased their single-stream recycling to collect all paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum cans. They also implemented an organics program for coffee grounds, filters, and paper towels. “It was a staff-driven initiative and everyone is so motivated and they all help each other. Our guests and staff are all doing a great job, and we love the fact that everyone who enters our building has the option to recycle and compost,” said Operations Director, Jim Kroening.

The grant helped FamilyMeans pay for color-coded recycling bins, two dishwashers, ceramic mugs and reusable dishware to eliminate disposable hardware. FamilyMeans’ Stillwater location also received staff training on the difference between recycling, compost and trash. Staff also learned how to re-evaluate purchasing options to make more sustainable choices. The groups that rent out the space each month received information included in a manual to eliminate confusion and ensure that the streams remain contaminate free.  

Outcomes

FamilyMeans is now diverting an estimated 2,316 pounds of organic material and 14,456 pounds of recyclable material from the landfill annually. “We are doing the right thing for the environment and our community,” said Kroening.

“Our staff and guests love it, and while I thought implementing organics would be challenging, people have really taken to the program and are motivated to keep improving.” The organization is saving approximately $5,700 annually and plans to continue their imitative by looking for new ways to maintain sustainability in their community and facility.

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