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St. Paul Hmong Alliance Church is a predominately Hmong faith community with an inclusive membership of over 3,000 people.

Challenge

St. Paul Hmong Alliance Church was looking for ways to recycle more following a large expansion of their building. They had started a single-sort recycling program, and wanted to make sure they were using the system to its maximum capacity.

The church has a congregation of nearly 3,500 people. One major challenge they faced is that many of their congregants speak only Hmong, and some of the older congregants do not read. St. Paul Hmong Alliance needed a recycling program that would be accessible for all of their members. Their waste hauler recommended that they get in touch with BizRecycling’s Recycling Experts for assistance.

How We Helped

Our Recycling Experts worked with church member Xee Kong to evaluate the space and learn about the congregation. They decided on the best placement for collection bins and helped Kong to apply for a BizRecycling Grant. The grant allowed the church to purchase bins that fit in with their newly remodeled space. The church was able to add bins to their sanctuary atrium, meeting rooms, conference room, event spaces, and all of their classrooms.

BizRecycling also offers free labels in both English and Hmong, with photos that show traditional Hmong items that are recyclable. “It was great to be able to have labels in English and Hmong,” explained Kong. “Many congregants in the older generation don’t read or write, so it was helpful to have labels with pictures showing what they can recycle.”

Along with the new bins and labels, the church created presentations to help educate the congregants about recycling. They had team members doing presentations at the recycling bins, and made announcements before services and during busy times in the halls. “That really helped people learn,” said Kong. “We definitely struggled to understand the change for the first couple weeks, but everyone has been getting it now.”

Outcome

The reaction from the congregation has been positive. Through their single-sort recycling program and educational efforts, the church is now collecting over 57,000 pounds of recyclables a year. The church was so pleased with their success that they are continuing to look for more waste reduction opportunities, including adding a grease collection service.

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