The staff involved with positioning trash barrels and recycling bins, emptying bins and transferring materials to the loading area plays an essential role in recycling and ensuring its success. Much can be gained by involving crews in not just the maintenance but also the planning and refining of the recycling program.

Involve Crews in Planning

  • Crews know answers to waste assessment questions
    • Ask crew members to note what is typically discarded by members of the public, vendors and event staff at the site.
      • Crew observations provide the best assessment of waste that comes from carry-in food or beverages that visitors bring to the site.
      • The discards of vendors and others may be overlooked by those who create the waste but are conspicuous to the cleaning crew.
      • Cleaning crews may use and dispose of hazardous products and should disclose information about the substances and why they are used.
      • Learn how crew input fits into the big picture by visiting the Waste Assessment section of this guide.
    • Tap the crew's knowledge of crowd traffic patterns and behaviors.
      • Ask crew members if they notice patterns of where recyclable materials are discarded and where the waste is mostly composed of true garbage.
      • Some venues experience the �bottle on the ground next to the trash� or �folded newspaper leaning against the wastebasket� phenomena. That happens when visitors know the materials don't belong in the trash but didn't see a convenient recycling bin. Crew members can tell you where that occurs.
  • Get crew members suggestions for planning operations
    • Show crew members the recycling receptacles under consideration and ask for reactions.
      • A successful bin must be easy for crew members to empty safely and efficiently, probably in the presence of crowds.
      • Learn more about selecting the right bins for your site in the section of this guide entitled, Considering Containers.
    • Consider the crew's existing routines when planning recycling.
      • If crew members gather full trash bags in a cart, they can collect recyclables in the same round, as long as differently colored liner bags are used. Clear liners are recommended for recycling, to help crews spot trash contamination. The bags can be easily placed in the appropriate loading area containers.
      • Some venues have designated recycling staff or even a separate crew for recycling. Because recycling success can be influenced by the way trash is handled, it is important that the recycling and trash crew members can communicate and ask for assistance. Much of trouble-shooting involves making adjustments to both trash and recycling set-ups.
      • Account for extra time that crew members may spend when recycling is added to their responsibilities. Note that some set-ups actually make the crew's work easier because trash barrels fill more slowly and dangerous glass is kept out of trash bags.

Inform Crews of their Role

  • Include recycling responsibilities in job descriptions
    • Statements about recycling in job descriptions, employee handbooks and contracts will show crew members that this is not an add-on to their duties, but a job responsibility.
      • Look for sample contract language in the XXXXX section of this guide.
      • Address recycling tasks in performance reviews.
  • Train the cleaning crew
    • Demonstrate the way the system operates.
      • Make sure crew members know locations of bins and loading area containers, how the bins work, and how to transport materials.
      • Show the staff where to find supplies such as clear liner bags.
      • Give the crew guidelines for assessing contamination and deciding when a bag of recyclables may contain too much trash to be recycled.
      • Explain how often recycling receptacles should be emptied (when liner bags are more than half full, for example).
    • Prepare crew members to answer questions from the public.
      • Common questions are, �Can I recycle this?� and �Where is a recycling bin for _____?�
    • Share recycling trouble-shooting tips.
      • Make a printed copy of the Trouble Shooting Tips to give crew members or post in their supply area.
      • An effective approach is to authorize crew members to make changes themselves when they see a recycling problem.
    • Do some listening.
      • Answer questions and welcome suggestions.
  • Post Instructions
    • Put written instructions and the Trouble Shooting Tips in sheet protectors and tape them up in logical places
      • Areas where supplies are stored or where crew members take breaks are good locations for posting the written recycling instructions.
      • Include explanations of the recycling tasks, materials that belong in recycling bins and locations of loading area bins and supplies like liner bags.
      • Use bold key words and headings to help staff find quick answers.
    • Have a place for notes and updates.
      • If bins were added to new locations or moved between positions, ensure that crew members who empty them know where to look.
      • Ask crew members to write any updates that their co-workers would benefit from knowing, such as trouble-shooting changes they made.
  • Keep Crews Informed
    • Share the results of the program.
      • Make recycling a regular agenda item at crew meetings.
      • Let staff members know what has been accomplished and what was learned about the best ways to make recycling successful at the site.
    • Bring up needs for refinement.
      • Explain changes intended to help the recycling program and the roles crew members will have.
      • Ask for suggestions.

Involve Crews in Refining Recycling

  • Use insights gathered by the crew
    • The crew can observe a lot about crowd behaviors and how they impact recycling.
      • Ask for anecdotal results � where do contamination problems happen? Where are there trash bins that receive materials that should instead be recycled? Which locations have the most trash and recyclables? How does the recycling participation change at different times of day?
      • Find out what the crew members did to make the program operations easier or to address problems they observed. Remember those things for next time.
    • Ask the crew to help with an experiment
      • Maybe different signs would help. Choose a test location and ask the crew to compare the outcomes.
      • Try ideas for improvement and track the results with reports from the crew on participation, contamination and volumes.
    • Ask the crew for advice.
      • Get crew member input for streamlining the recycling process.
      • Ask for ideas on attracting the public's participation.

Recognize the Crew's Contributions

  • Acknowledge the cleaning crew's importance in meeting the recycling program goals.
    • Thank the crew members.
      • Let staff members know when they're doing a good job.
      • Check out unique thank you gifts made from recycled materials. A fleece vest made from recycled beverage bottles would make a great reward.
    • Make recycling a source of pride for the staff members involved.
      • Give a public compliment to the hard working cleaning crews with a sign or scoreboard message.
      • Special recycling shirts worn by the crew show the public that the staff does valued work � and might remind the visitors to do their part too.

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