The beginning of a new school year is a chance for a fresh start, and University School of Milwaukee is kicking off the 2023–24 school year with a new recycling program. USM students, faculty, and staff were eager to establish new and improved campus-wide recycling initiatives after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the school’s previous recycling program.
The program was started by Kip Jacobs ’74, outdoor education coordinator, with further support from Nathan Steinbach ’24, Environmental Action Team leader, and Lauro Robles, custodial supervisor. “School administrators recognized the importance of establishing a school-wide recycling program and encouraged us from the beginning,” said Jacobs.
Their work began in February and consisted of brainstorming sessions and meetings with different departments to develop a program that was simple and efficient. The plan includes a new pick-up schedule for all recyclables, in which faculty and staff members leave their recycling bin outside their classroom or office on designated days of the week when they will be emptied by custodial staff, much like residential trash pick-up. This new system is both easy to implement and easy to maintain.
The team also met with representatives from Waste Management to determine how the school can best meet recycling standards. At the beginning of the school year, Jacobs, Steinbach, and Robles gave presentations to faculty, staff, and students on the new process, and provided education and resources on items that can and cannot be recycled.
“There were a lot of moving parts to get this up and running,” said Steinbach. “We needed to get multiple different departments on campus aligned and in agreement. One of our biggest hurdles was communication. There’s more than 1,000 people who will be participating, so we wanted to make sure our communication was clear and easy to understand.”