Waste Assessments provide valuable information about your school's waste stream, existing recycling efforts and potential to divert more waste for recycling. Waste minimization (waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting) plays a very specific role in diverting waste from disposal for institutional organizations.
The first step of a waste assessment is a review of disposal costs and that starts with the User Fees. The User fee is what every institution pays annually to the county for your school's waste disposal and recycling. This fee is determined by the size and quantity of the waste container(s) and the frequency of collection service at each school. Second, a visual inspection of the container is made to see if it is sized accordingly to the waste generated, especially for schools with a comprehensive waste reduction and recycling program. Recommendations are made regarding downsizing the dumpster to accommodate for expanded recycling programs that divert the garbage from disposal to recycling. This is how schools and other institutions can achieve economic benefits through waste minimization efforts.
Next the focus of the assessment will shift to the existing recycling program at your school. Questions will be asked regarding the placement of recycling bins and who is responsible for collecting the recyclables and placing them in the proper container for service. A walk through of your school will be performed with proper representatives. This provides an opportunity to discuss your school's recycling efforts and identify opportunities to enhance the program and education efforts. Each school has a unique approach to its own recycling program and oftentimes innovative ideas are gathered in order to provide valuable information to share with other schools.
It is important to schedule a waste assessment when the garbage and recycling containers are at their fullest. This is usually the day before a scheduled pickup and after lunch trash has been disposed. The day porter or other member of the custodial staff is a valuable contributor to the assessment due to their daily hands-on interaction with staff, students and waste flow.
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