Andrew Champagne was skeptical about changing the way Higher Ground handled trash and recycling.
He’s an event logistics wrangler who handles concerts produced by Higher Ground but staged elsewhere, such as Shelburne Museum and the Burlington Waterfront.
But the old system wasn’t working well: They were using opaque carts for trash and recyclables, and attendees weren’t using them correctly. They didn’t seem to consider that trash and recyclables go in separate containers, resulting in little being diverted from the waste stream.
With the help of a container-purchasing grant from CSWD, Higher Ground now has 15 sets of trash, recycling, and compost collection containers that it uses for off-site concerts, like their Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green series at Shelburne Museum.
“The new system sets a good example of waste management done right,” says Champagne. “I recommend it and I think Higher Ground is pleased.”
Jude Chicoine, owner of Seaway Car Wash, also tapped into CSWD’s container grant program to help fund the purchase of seven sets of paired bins. “Within the first 3 months of having the new bins, I was able to go from having a 4 cubic yard dumpster down to a 3-yard one,” says Chicoine, “and even that isn’t always full now.”
Chicoine and Champagne were intentional in their choice of bins, each with an eye towards what would work best in their unique situations.
“I looked at a lot of containers and decided that I wanted something 4-sided that will jump out at you,” says Chicoine.
His bins have large sides, enabling him to create large signs indicating what goes where for his car-wash customers.
“The amount of trash I produce myself is minimal,” he says. “But since the public is vacuuming out their cars, they produce a lot. Having plenty of bins nearby for trash and recycling goes hand in hand with that service.”
As for Higher Ground, Clearstream containers are a big part of what has been working well. The wiry, metal stands hold clear trash bags, offering a view of what is supposed to go in each container.
“The implementation of the Clearstream bin system at our events has drastically decreased the levels of contamination in our recycling and compost streams. We have found that the design of the new system encourages and enables our patrons to stop, think, and make the right choice at our sort stations.”
Contamination is one the biggest issues businesses face when providing containers for the general public. Good signage and staff training go a long way towards helping a business or event help their customers know what to throw in which container.
“The easier it is for customers to put their discarded items into the correct bin, the more successful a business’s recycling efforts will be,” says Robin Orr, the Events & Hospitality Outreach Coordinator for CSWD.
“No one is obligated to buy new containers,” says Orr, “but our grant program can help businesses and event producers get containers that will help them succeed. I love visiting places where I can see grant-funded containers in action and see those investments paying off.”
For more information on CSWD’s bin grant program, visit Grants & Funding.