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					                                 MPS Waste Audit Report
                                                       Andre Xiong

    For a copy of this report or to access more information about waste management / recycling at MPS,

School name and grade:            Field Community School 5-8
Today’s date:                     5-14 -2010
Audit date:                       3 -4-2010
Audit participants:               Andre Xiong, Hennepin County Environmental Services
                                  Richard St. Clair, Head Building Engineer
                                  Pete Spartz, MPS Plant Operations
                                  Doug Link, Allied Waste Services


 Waste generated at your site in March, 2010:                                                    MPS is now collecting
  In March, your school produced 4,880 lb of waste.                                             information about
           Trash:                  2,800 lb (57 %)                                              waste and recycling
           Mixed recycling: 1,000 lb (21 %)                                                     rates by school. The
           Organics:               1,080 lb (22 %)                                              analysis below is
  Based on your school population of 809 (491 students, 45 staff), each person                  based on data for the
      in your school produced 6 pounds of waste during this month.                               month which this
  It took approximately 4.5 dumpsters to haul your 2,800 lbs of trash.
                                                                            3                    audit took place at
  The waste you recycled in March will result in 2,080 less pounds of material                  your site. To access
      going to the incinerator as well as the production of new materials and 365 lb             weights from other
                   4                                                                             months, please visit:
      of compost. Making new products from recycled material is less expensive         
      and more environmentally friendly than making them from raw materials.                     and click on ‘Green
      Compost is a safe fertilizer that also reduces erosion, water loss, and weed               Reports’.
      growth in soils.
  Typical school waste content is comprised of 32% organic waste . Your school
      diverted 22 % of waste to be composted. Congratulations, keep working to
      achieve 32% and beyond.
District cost of trash and recycling disposal for your site in March, 2010 :
                                       Trash, actual   Mixed Recycling   Organics Recycling   had you not recycled
      Monthly haul charge $1.90/yd         $152              $46              $15.20                  $152
      Processing fee rate    $/ton          $40              $12                $15                    $40
      Processing fee based on weight        $60               $6                 $8                   $105
      MN State tax         17%            $10.23           exempt             exempt                $17.84
      Hennepin Co. tax     14.5%           $8.73           exempt             exempt                $15.21
               Total Cost                 $231               $52                $23                  $290

In March alone, your school diverted 2,080 lb of waste towards recycling/composting; saving the district $59
in disposal fees that would have incurred from adding that 2,080 lb to the trash instead of recycling it. These
savings allow the district to enhance its resource management strategy and offer programs like organics
recycling and improved mixed recycling. Increasing your recycling rates would yield even higher savings
throughout the school year.

                             ON-SITE AUDIT RESULTS & DISCUSSION
   Included below are findings and recommendations based on the audit of your building’s
                               waste management practices.7

Organics Recycling:
You were recycling organics in addition to mixed recycling.
Congratulations for being among the first MPS schools to launch this important program. Hopefully you have
all the tools you need to make it successful. If you need to change your hauling schedule or request additional
supplies, please contact your Plant Operations supervisor. If you have questions about the program overall,
including associated education materials, please visit: OR email:

You were recycling organics during breakfast.
Congratulations for implementing a robust organics program that seeks to capture as much of the organic
waste generated throughout your building as possible. Keep up the good work.

You were collecting restroom (paper towel) waste as organics.
Congratulations for implementing a robust organics program that seeks to capture as much of the organic
waste generated throughout your building as possible. Keep up the good work.

You had educational materials displayed in cafeteria to help during sorting.
Congratulations for making every effort to educate and encourage proper sorting of waste. Proper sorting will
maximize recycling rates and decrease trash to fully experience the financial and environmental benefits of
recycling. Remember that MPS has informational signage in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali on the

Your lunchroom sort stations were monitored.
Congratulations for having dedicated individuals to actively assist students with sorting as necessary. Proper
sorting will maximize recycling rates and decrease trash to fully experience the financial and environmental
benefits of recycling. The shortage of monitors to assist with sorting has been linked to unsuccessful organics
recycling programs. Keep up the good work. Remember that volunteers must go through an application
process through the district. Keep in mind that the intent of monitoring is to help students learn to sort
properly as opposed to doing the actual sorting for students.

Your head building engineer suggests there has been some decrease in the amount of trash since organics
recycling was introduced.
Congratulations on successfully diverting organic material away from the trash and into recycling. This success
is critical to the financial sustainability of organics recycling. Keep up the good work!
Recycling and waste reduction practices:
You were stacking trays prior to disposal.
Congratulations on efficiently using resources. Trays take up massive volume and fill up bags quickly,
requiring them to be changed out frequently. Stacking trays to be disposed of separately will allow much
more room in waste containers for other waste items. This practice, in turn, can save space in the
dumpster(s) as well. Continue this practice with the new compostable trays.

You were collecting liquid waste in a separate container.
Congratulations. A great way to minimize the weight of your waste is to divert liquid waste down the drain.
Weight is one key basis that MPS’ hauler uses to charge the district for trash and recycling. In addition,
because MPS sends its trash to the incinerator, dry waste results in a more efficient burn which is better for the

You were using MPS Goes Green signage.
Congratulations on helping standardize the district-wide MPS Goes Green message. Remember that there are
informational signs in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali available on the MPS website. Also, there are fun
‘What to Collect’ signs on the website that are appropriate for a K-8 audience.

You were using custom-made educational materials as well.
Congratulations on taking ownership for making your building green. Signs and educational materials made by
staff and students in addition to those provided by MPS will help make the program successful in your

None of the surveyed classrooms displayed posters and labels to aid in sorting.
Posters and labels help students and staff comply with the recycling program. Teachers, take as little as a
minute of your time to post up signage by recycling containers to encourage recycling in the classroom.
Labeling containers and displaying recycling information reduces contamination in the recycling containers.
Minimal effort is required to post up educational materials yet has major positive effects. Please check the
MPS website for a variety of informational signs you can use in classrooms. Another step you can take is to
incorporate environmental sustainability information into coursework. The MPS Goes Green website provides
curriculum materials you may find useful.

You often used color coding to promote sorting.
Congratulations on using the MPS-designated colors (blue = mixed recycling, green = organics recycling,
red/gray = trash) to promoting recycling and proper sorting. Make sure to cover up any recycling labels on
containers that do not correspond with its designated use. (i.e. recycling sign on a red barrel). Contact your
Plant Operations Supervisor for stickers that can be used for this purpose.

Interior containers:
All classrooms sampled had recycling containers.
MPS will make every effort to provide every (class) room with recycling containers, please contact Plant
Operations Supervisor for extra containers. Paper makes up a tremendous portion of classroom waste, yet an
astounding amount of recyclable paper is still making its way into trash bins. The labor required to throw paper
into the trash or recycling bin are equal. Give students the opportunity to recycle in the classroom by providing
recycling bins in all classrooms. Promote proper use of recycling bins through signage and classroom activities.
See the MPS Goes Green website for ideas,
You often provided both trash and recycling containers at the same location (in classrooms).
Congratulations, the practice of placing both trash and recycling containers near one another has been found
to increase recycling. Making recycling containers available wherever there are trash containers maximizes the
likelihood that recyclables will not simply be thrown away.

You were not bagging mixed recycling containers.
Congratulations on further reducing your school’s environmental impact by minimizing plastic bag use.
MPS’ waste hauler prefers recyclables un-bagged because the bags become a problem at the materials
recovery facility (MRF) where the recyclables are sorted and processed. At the MRF, in order to keep the
plastic bags from getting wrapped around the sorting equipment, they must be separated and disposed. The
plastic bags do not get recycled. Furthermore, the recyclables can easily be contained and transported through
the use of bins, dumpsters, and trucks. Keep up this environmentally friendly, cost effective practice.

Contamination assessment:
Number of sampled bags of trash: 2
Both samples had no contamination.
It is great to see that your school is successfully diverting recyclables away from trash. Less recyclables in the
trash means less weight, thus reducing disposal fees for the district. Proper sorting also saves energy as more
recycling leads to less energy and resources required to make products from recycled materials.

Number of sampled bags of recycling: 2
Both samples had very minimal contamination (paper towels).
Congratulations. Your mixed recycling stream was essentially free of trash! This means that the contents of
your recycling dumpster will be used to make quality recycled products. When you have excessive
contamination in your recycling it could mean that the hauler will reject your entire load to the trash. It is very
important that your school community continues to keep the recycling stream as good of quality as possible.
If you would like clarification on whether or not certain items are recyclable, please contact me.

Number of sampled bags of organics: 1
Your sample had excessive contamination (non-recyclable plastic: utensils, wrapping, bags).
If your organics recycling is badly contaminated, it will be disposed of as trash once it arrives at the transfer
station. If contaminated loads go unnoticed during handling and pass on to composting facilities, they will
lead to the production of low quality compost with little market value. If your site is experiencing difficulties
with organics recycling, you may want to increase monitoring and education. Feel free to contact for further assistance on improving organics recycling.

Exterior dumpsters:
Your dumpsters were labeled.
Congratulations for labeling the different dumpsters to distinguish what waste type goes in them, ensuring
that trash and recyclables are disposed of properly.

Waste [were/were not] correctly disposed of in their corresponding dumpster.
*not sufficient data*
Note: Disposing of your waste streams in the proper dumpsters is the crucial final step your waste takes
before it leaves your school property. If you end up putting sorted materials (mixed recycling and/or organics)
in the trash dumpster, -- or contaminate sorted materials with trash, it undermines the entire recycling effort
and can be very discouraging for all of the staff, students, and parents who participate in the recycling

Your dumpsters were not effectively arranged to encourage recycling.
It is a best practice to place recycling dumpsters in a convenient location. Placing the recycling dumpster(s)
closer than trash dumpster discourages recyclables from ending up in the trash dumpster. If your school is
participating in organics, it is especially important to put that dumpster close due to the heavy weight of those
bags. If you would like to move your dumpster location or arrangement, please contact your Plant Operations

Your trash dumpster [ 4 yd3, picked up 5x weekly ] is typically ¾ full at pick-up.
Congratulations for choosing an appropriately sized trash dumpster. As recycling improves at your school, make
note of reduced trash production and request a smaller dumpster/less service as necessary.

Your mixed recycling dumpster [ 6 yd3 each, picked up 1x weekly ] is typically ¾ full at pick-up.
Congratulations for filling your mixed recycling dumpster to near its capacity. Dumpster disposal fees are
charged based on size and service frequency, so an underutilized dumpster costs the district extra money.
Increasing to a bigger recycling dumpster is perfectly fine if your school’s recycling efforts have improved that

Your organics dumpster [ 2 yd3, picked up 1x weekly ] is typically full at pick-up.
Congratulations for filling your organics dumpster to its capacity. Dumpster disposal fees are charged based on
size so underutilized dumpsters cost the district extra. Increasing to a bigger organics dumpster is perfectly fine
if your school’s recycling efforts have improved that much.

Summary of Recommendations
-Rearrange dumpsters to promote recycling by placing recycling dumpsters closer than trash.
-Notify Plant Operations supervisor to make adjustments to hauling service (pick-up frequency or dumpster
 capacity) to meet actual needs of waste production levels. In particular, try reducing trash and recycling
 service from five times per week down to four times.
-Establish a school-wide set-up that best promotes recycling in classrooms:
        -Post up signs/posters by containers to differentiate recycling from trash.
        -Position trash and recycling containers together to promote sorting.
        -Place containers in prominent locations, such as by doors or teachers’ desks, rather than scattered
        -Limit the amount of containers in class rooms—one recycling and one trash should suffice. Two rooms
          surveyed each had 4-5 containers.

If your school needs to modify its hauling schedule / dumpster size or access additional materials to make your
waste management/recycling program successful, please contact your Plant Operations Supervisor. For
questions regarding the audit and audit report, please contact Andre Xiong.

Andre Xiong
MN GreenCorps School Waste Prevention Specialist
Hennepin County Dept. of Environmental Services
417 N. 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401
phone: 612-543-1316
Appendix / Sources
    Monthly waste generation data was provided by MPS contract hauler, Allied Waste Services. Data on
    dumpster sizes and hauling schedules were also obtained from Allied.
    Student enrollment numbers were obtained through MPS student account, available to the public online.
    Staff enrollment numbers were obtained through payroll.
    Allied Waste estimates one cubic yard of trash weighs approximately 100 lbs.
    Ginny Black, from MN Pollution Control Agency, estimates approximately 50% of organic waste remains as
    finished compost after decomposition.
    It was decided upon to use 32% as the figure for organic waste composition of total waste generated at
     schools. The study was conducted in southern California by California Integrated Waste Management Board
     for 2002.
    Monthly haul charge = [ $1.90 X dumpster size (yd ) X frequency of pickup in a week ] X 4 weeks (month)
    Processing fee = processing rate X weight (tons)
    Total cost = monthly haul charge + processing fee + tax
    Savings incurred from recycling = total cost (gross weight) ▬ total cost (trash weight)
 Audit procedures:
o Audits were scheduled for 1 hour and included:
       1. Interview with head building engineer 2. Interior walkthrough
       3. Contamination assessment                4. Exterior walkthrough
o Audits were conducted by Hennepin County Environmental Services’ GreenCorps member; alongside an
  Allied Waste representative and the Plant Ops supervisor for that site.
o Questions during audit were answered based on head engineers’ observations and perceptions.
o Walk-through portion of audit consisted of observing (as needed):
       2 hallways (or other common areas)
       3 classrooms
       1 bathroom
o Contamination assessment portion of audit consisted of visually assessing:
       2 bags of trash
       2 bags of mixed recycling
       2 bags of organic waste
    Not all schools were able to supply samples for contamination assessment due to various reasons. In such
    cases, samples were attained in these other manners (where possible):
          Observing bags already disposed of in dumpsters
          Observing un-bagged waste in dumpsters equivalent to bag
          Observing active containers on the floor

    Clarification on contaminants:
           Non-recyclable paper include: food-soiled paper, napkins, paperware, milk cartons.
           Non-recyclable plastics include: shrinkwrap, plasticware, food containers.
           Cardboard is allowed in single stream collection, so it is categorized with ‘paper’ for our purposes.
           Food waste is only considered a contaminant in trash where organics recycling is in place.

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