For its innovative public education work in Snohomish County, Waste Management received the WSRA Recycler of the Year – Public Education award. Washington State Recycling Association held its awards presentation in April and honored nine recycling efforts statewide.

To earn the honor, Waste Management in 2018 targeted two of the industry’s most daunting challenges: plastic film contamination in recycling and food waste.

To tackle recycling contamination, WM implemented a cart-tagging study, which showed a generic tag with simple messaging was more effective than a specific feedback tag. The generic tag reduced film in the recycling by a substantial 50%.

As an innovative way to stimulate behavior change and reduce food waste, WM created a food storage guide and introduced a new and engaging educational platform at farmers markets. The WM Scrap Happy Kitchen events featured a professional chef to demonstrate to shoppers how to use “garden overflow” and often-discarded food items to make healthy and delicious food.

Its contamination study and tag to reduce plastic film and its WM Scrap Happy Kitchen program to reduce waste showed how using new opportunities to educate can change behaviors and make an impact. For Snohomish County, the result was cleaner recycling and new inspiration to reduce food waste.

WSRA award applications are available in November at wsra.net or call 206-622-8425 for more information.

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