We recently published a new guide to hazardous materials management for Chittenden County schools, in collaboration with area teachers, administrators, janitors, and state policymakers.
The guide is written primarily for maintenance and custodial staff, including Facilities Directors at the district level as well as those handling hazardous materials on a daily basis.
How does a brochure like this come into being? Well, it doesn’t write itself—that’s for sure.
After circulating a school survey in the fall of 2015, Rhonda Mace, our School Outreach Coordinator and initiator of the project, noticed a lack of guidance around the county for handling hazardous materials.
“After several surveys for K-12 schools were returned, [we recognized the need] for more information regarding hazardous waste management…It was evident not every school in the District knew how to identify, manage, and dispose of hazardous waste properly.”
… a comprehensive publication that not only helps schools manage hazardous materials but provides them green alternatives…
With so many different stakeholders involved, it was difficult to navigate all of the different ideas of what the document should look like, and what it should contain.
“[One of the biggest challenges was] not having a clear idea of what the publication was going to look like or the information that was to be included. It went through many morphs before we knew what info we wanted to include and after that it was all about placement and fitting everything into a little booklet. I guess sometimes you have to create something you don’t want or need to see what is truly needed
“Another challenge when working with this many people and folks outside of your organization is everyone has opinions and ideas of how content should be arranged, language used or what should be included…[Plus, people are] often not sitting at the same table when voicing said opinions. I really appreciated [the Department of Environmental Conservation’s] input but when it came down to it, CSWD needed a different type of document than what the state was looking for. It took a longer time than I anticipated but I think it is a comprehensive publication that not only helps schools manage hazardous materials but provides them green alternatives, as well as advice from schools who are practicing cleaner, greener approaches.
If you know someone working in a school who would benefit from this brochure – a chemistry teacher, school custodian, maintenance worker, or Facilities Director – please share it with them!