In Dane County, three initiatives took diverse approaches to engage specific communities with education, engagement, and access to reduce waste, with resulting tools useful in other communities to increase broader engagement in recycling efforts.
In the spring of 2023, the Latino Academy of Workforce Development launched a bilingual Recycle Better Program in collaboration with Sustain Dane. In Spanish and English, it is culturally relevant to the Latinx community. Empowerment is a central theme of the program. The 13 bilingual Recycle Better leaders teach additional family, friends, and community members recycling knowledge, creating a ripple effect of over 1,000 people.
Collaborating with school districts involves diverse teams: district board, administration, custodians, principals, food staff, teachers, students, and volunteers. After piloting and securing support, Madison School District sped up recycling in 2023-24 across elementary and middle schools. The program aims to extend beyond initiation, striving to educate and empower staff and students for waste reduction and recycling habits at home and in the community.
Recycling food scraps and keeping them from landfills has been a priority in Madison. Sustain Dane coordinated two free farmers’ market food scrap drop-off sites over the past two years. Experiences in launching the program, educating the public on allowable food scraps vs contamination, and tracking the success of over 25,000 lbs. of food scraps kept from the landfill will be shared. Food scrap collection is more accessible to community members in Madison through education and engagement.
Learn more at the 2024 Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference when Chris Jimieson co-presents “Engaging New Strategies and New Audiences to Increase Waste Reduction” with Samantha Worden of Sustain Dane and Baltazar De Anda Santana of Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Inc.
Meet Project Manager Chris Jimieson at WIRMC or contact him at or on LinkedIn. Mr. Jimieson has over 20 years of experience as a geological engineer and hydrogeologist on a wide variety of civil and environmental engineering projects. He manages environmental compliance projects as well as municipal solid waste and sustainable materials management projects.