WM Recycle Corps interns on the way to ‘crack the code’ for better recycling | Metzler

  • Thursday, June 22, 2017 5:30pm
  • Opinion

By Michelle Metzler/For the Auburn Reporter

Setting up successful recycling systems in apartment buildings is like a puzzle. You can have all the pieces right in front of you, but they don’t work together until every piece is in the right place.

At Waste Management, we call it “cracking the code” on multifamily recycling. It involves placing the right containers in the right places, with signage in the right languages – so everything works together in a complete and successful way.

It’s a complex challenge. It’s also key to reducing waste across the Puget Sound Region, where recycling rates for apartments and condos in many communities are dramatically lower than recycling rates for single family homes.

That’s why we put the WM Recycle Corp interns on the job.

WM Recycle Corps is a summer internship program for college students, created by Waste Management and designed to take recycling to the next level in our community. The WM interns work directly with property managers and residents to help people master the recycling basics that make the biggest difference:

1. Recycle all empty bottles, cans and paper

2. Keep food and liquids out of recycling

3. Keep plastic bags out of recycling

Through one-on-one conversations on doorsteps, our multilingual interns help WM multifamily customers set up clear and convenient systems for reducing waste. They even go door-to-door at apartment complexes and condos to troubleshoot sorting systems and provide “how to” information and signage.

Often, the WM interns find the recycling container tucked away in the corner of the property, or containers that are too full. Space for recycling containers can be limited inside apartment units and on the property itself. There can be multiple languages spoken at one complex, and some residents may have limited English proficiency.

With team members fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese, our interns help bridge the language gaps so more community members can participate in recycling and understand the program.

The WM Recycle Corps program has been a big success for Waste Management and the environment. Nearly 50 percent of WM Recycle Corps alumni are working in the industry for private companies and the public sector, continuing to impact recycling habits in our communities. Recognizing these successes, the Solid Waste Association of North America honored Waste Management’s Recycle Corps program with the prestigious Gold Excellence Award – one of the highest honors in the industry.

Be on the lookout for our interns this summer. They’ll be visiting apartment complexes across the region, bringing WM’s multilingual, multicultural resources to help multifamily communities put all the pieces together, to recycle right.

If you ever have questions about reducing waste or recycling, setting up recycling at your apartment or condo, Waste Management is here to help. Just shoot us an email at recyclenw@wm.com.

Michelle Metzler is the recycling education and outreach manager for Waste Management.

More in Opinion

Lt. Dan needs lots of helping hands | Brunell

Gary Sinise making year-around commitments to help veterans and their families

President, governor or retirement – only Inslee knows his plan

Inslee has his share of options to determine his future

Eyman putting his latest fight on his tab

Activist using own money in signature-gathering drive to place a $30 car tab measure in front of voters

New approaches needed to fight super wildfires | Brunell

With Western States wildfires growing in size and destroying more homes, farms… Continue reading

Photo by Matt Phelps
President, governor or retirement — only Inslee knows his plan

What we do know is that he’s off to Iowa in June to deliver the keynote address at a party fundraiser.

Growth, knowledge, learning at your library | KCLS

Spring is the time of year when many of us focus on… Continue reading

Skilled trade jobs go unfilled in our robust economy | Brunell

Millions of good-paying opportunities available in blue collar jobs

Lawmakers hope to examine concerns of Sea-Tac International Airport and its impact on the quality of life in places like SeaTac, Burien, Des Moines, Tukwila and Federal Way.
State antes up money to address bevy of issues

From wolves to airplanes, state looks to tackle issues

Innovative library program emerges for the 21st century | KCLS

The King County Library System has long been committed to offering a… Continue reading

Earth Day flashback: 30 years of Puget Sound recycling | Metzler

What were you doing in 1988? Catching “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in… Continue reading

Trade war could hit Washington hard | Brunell

Any trade war between the United States and China is worrisome, but… Continue reading