EAGAN — Especially for Children, a child care center with eight locations throughout the twin cities, first contacted Dakota County in 2016 inquiring about how to improve recycling and potentially add organics recycling at their Eagan location. Director of Operations Alli Zomer was referred to Dakota County’s business recycling consultant, Minnesota Waste Wise.
Waste Wise connected Especially for Children to their hauler to compile pricing for an organics recycling service. With the help of a Recycling Incentive through Dakota County, the center purchased waste stations for each of their classrooms and kitchen along with a start-up supply of compostable bags and eating ware. On top of improved recycling efforts, the center purchased reusable cups and spoons to cut back on disposable eating ware.
Alli also began working with Waste Wise to improve recycling at other center locations, including Circle Pines, Cedar Rapids, and Inver Grove Heights. Staff members from each location were invited to a training session in which Waste Wise provided an overview of what should go in each waste stream.
Since making these changes, Especially for Children’s Eagan center is now recycling an estimated 13,903 lbs of organics per year and has cut trash in half. When asked about the benefits of improving their recycling efforts, Alli commented: “As early childhood educators, one of the greatest benefits is the opportunity to teach young children about the importance of reducing waste and managing resources well. We are also glad to be reducing our environmental footprint as a business.”