The Recycling Education Committee (REC) is a group of stakeholders that meets quarterly with the goal of increasing recycling and reducing recycling contamination by building consensus around recycling education and communication. Starting in June 2016, representatives from haulers, cities, counties, the state and other regional organizations and associations began discussions around how to improve recycling efficiency throughout the state of Minnesota. Recognizing the discord of recycling messages, the REC strives to improve recycling communication and outreach through coordinated and consistent messaging.
The Recycling Education Committee is a new and growing collaborative group with hopes to expand Minnesota’s recycling industry and work towards meeting ambitious state recycling goals. REC is committed to leveraging existing resources, using a sustainable materials management approach, and using an environmental justice framework to guide their work.
The purpose of the group is to seek understanding from key stakeholders on recyclable and compostable materials, build consensus on what is universally acceptable/not acceptable, and agree on consistent messaging to communicate in an efficient and coordinated fashion throughout the state.
In the group’s quarterly meetings, REC members collaborated to craft a “Always/Never in the Curbside Bin” list and identified other priority recycling messages to help guide future campaigns/outreach. Those messaging priorities are:
- No Bags and Un-Bag Your Recyclables
- Back To Basics (No Wishcycling; Here’s How the System Works Info-Graphic)
- Stop Hazards (lithium batteries, etc.)
- Universal Cart Tags and Trainings
- Shredded Paper
The REC is currently working with The Recycling Partnership to create state-wide messaging for Minnesota, with funding through an EPA Environmental Education Grant. REC is also working on a Recycling Outreach Guide that Recycling Professionals and Educators across Minnesota may use to inform their recycling outreach tools.
More information about this committee can be found: REC White Paper
For questions or if you are interested in joining REC, please contact Kayla Walsh, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recycling Education Committee Update 7.26.19
You’re invited to use our new Recycling Outreach Guide to augment your recycling education campaigns. This guide is a living document, created by the Recycling Education Committee (REC) with the goal to streamline recycling messaging across the state, in a way that makes recycling easier for residents. Standardized communication for recycling best practices will help us collect more material, with less contamination.
The guide breaks down recyclability by material type, suggests drop-offs for specialty recycling (like plastic bags, textiles, and batteries) and it even has a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to explain why certain materials are not recyclable curbside.
The goal of this document is to maintain an agreed-upon list of what is universally acceptable/not acceptable at the curbside or drop-off in Minnesota. This guide is intended to supplement existing programs and provide consistent messaging and signage that will increase consumer confidence in their own abilities to properly dispose of recyclable materials. We recognize that all programs are unique and the guide might not match perfectly with local programs. However, this attempts to streamline recycling education as much as possible so that terminology and approaches are more consistent, where they can be.
All of the messages in the recycling outreach guide are customizable to your specific program, and they have been vetted by the REC. The use of these terms is completely voluntary and is meant to encourage public education. A secondary application of this guide might be to inform contract language between haulers and cities/counties across the state. Contract language may be obtained by contacting REC members. Examples of educational materials in which this guide might be used include:
- Brochures and print materials
- Website content
- One-on-one education (phone, in person, email)
- Interviews for print or recorded media events
- PSA (paid or free media – billboards, press releases, radio, TV etc.)
- Social media
- Media campaign (includes one or more from the above)
REC convenes quarterly and will continually update this resource to reflect new information and market conditions. The most up-to-date version of this document can be found here.
The document is supported or reviewed by representatives from the following organizations: haulers, material recycling facilities (MRFs), government, industry, non-profits, and end-market representatives. If you would like to provide feedback on how the guide is serving you and your community, or if you would like to become a REC member, please contact Jennifer Nguyen Moore at Jennifer.NguyenMoore@state.mn.us or Kayla Walsh at email@example.com