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The Way of the Waste Warrior

Be friendly, helpful, and cheerful.

Let event attendees catch your enthusiasm! Smile and make eye contact, offer to help people figure out where things belong, thank people for their efforts. Avoid negative words like “no” or “don’t”; use positive language instead: “Actually, next time that can go in the recycling bin.” or “Did you know that’s actually compostable?”

Focus on education.

Resist the urge to spend your whole shift fixing mistakes and digging bottles out of the trash. Instead, focus on changing future behavior by getting the message out.

Don’t feel like you’re letting the planet down if a few bottles get past you — you’re a planetary hero just by showing up!

Don’t feel like you’re letting the planet down if a few bottles get past you — you’re a planetary hero just by showing up!

Teaching someone that paper cups can’t be recycled is a far better investment than fishing a few wayward cups out of the bin. Think about how many more cups of coffee that person will consume over his/her lifetime, and how many other people he/she will teach!

If in doubt, throw it out!

If you’re wondering if a container is too dirty to be recycled — it probably is.

Many compostable products look and feel exactly the same as their non-compostable counterparts. Unless an item is clearly marked as compostable or someone from CSWD has confirmed BPI certification, paper food service items must go in the trash (unless they are uncoated, like plain paper plates).

When questions come up, check the pocket guide, ask the event captain, or grit your teeth and put it in the trash.

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Robin O
Robin O
Event Outreach Coordinator at CSWD