Recycling Triangles 1-7…huh?

We have all seen them on various plastics that we have ion our possession. From milk containers to soda bottles to styrofoam cups, they all have the triangle on them somewhere. It is fun to see if you can find all 7 but beyond that we probably have not given it much thought. Here is a quick run through of them and some examples:

#1 Polyethylene terephthalate….plastic water bottles or soda…

#2High density polyethylene….milk containers and laundry detergent jugs…

#3Vinyl….PVC pipes, food containers and shampoo bottles…

#4Low density polyethylene….bread bag plastic, squeeze type bottles…

#5Polypropylene….plastic bottle caps, microwave food containers…

#6Polystyrene….styrofoam, cups and plates, to go food containers…

#7Other….baby bottles, juice bottles, sippy cups….

Our collection company takes 1-7 and even though there a few that are hard to find recyclers for or even recycle, we know it can get confusing, so we take them all and sort it on the back end. Various sites online and many recyclers have this information available for educational purposes if you want to dig deeper. This site had some examples that I used above and also covers it more in depth –

Thank you for recycling and not using many natural resources to begin with.


Winners v. Losers

Mindsets are one of the keys to success; and those wth a “winner” mindset v. a “loser” one, I find have gone farther our business. In fact, those with “loser” mindsets usually end up quitting or getting let go because they have not pulled their weight and the team gets frustrated with them. I write this tonight because I seemed to be plagued by those with a “loser” mindset and wanted to share a recent story. The faster that you can recognize this in a team member, or extended circle of your company, the better off you’ll be.

Now, I don’t have any huge tips on how to recognize them and ways to deal with them. I just know that when I come across the “loser” mindset, it is always a “can’t-do”, excuses driven for why things did not get done, etc. We can either blame our circumstances for how things fare or just accept them and work beyond them to still execute and complete the task at hand.

In the waste hauling business, it is not an option to not do a route that day. You have to get creative and find a way when the norm is not an option either. Whether it is vacation or sickness or whatever, we have either more or less people, depending, to get all of the work done that day. A “can’t-do” mindset is not an option and needs to be replaced or you will not fulfill your duties as a waste hauler. That “can’t-do” mindset to me is the “loser” mindset.

Recently, I went to a dealership to buy a chassis to replace one of our older trucks. Our sales rep was just finding a way to get me what I needed. He had given me different styles until we found the correct one that we needed for our truck. Then, he went in search to find that specific model for us to get it back to the dealership. Mid-way through our search, he ended up leaving the dealership and handed us over to new a sales rep. That is when everything changed.

The chassis now was not readily available for delivery for a few months. Nor was there calling around to other dealerships to make a trade to get one off their lot or anything as the other sales rep had done for us before. This confused me as they already had the sale and just needed to use their contacts. So, I had to go in search of the chassis myself and in a couple of weeks eventually found one at another dealership. We made the deal and case closed. No big thing, or so I thought…..until, the old sales rep contacted me.

See, I figured it was late in the year where the new ones were starting to come out and last year’s models were just harder to find on lots. Well, when the old sales rep contacted me, saying he moved back, is working at the dealership again, found the model chassis we wanted AND could have it here tomorrow, I got all fired up. WHAT?!?!?! “How can you come back and find the truck I just spent weeks looking for but the other sales rep said it would be 6 months?” Unreal!

Now, there might be more to this story than I know but I can tell you this – one sales rep found a way to get the customer what he wanted and the other sales rep gave reasons for not finding that chassis and did not make it happen. Simple as that!

Look around your circles and see if you can find those who make things happen, finding a way v. those who always have excuses and can never get it done. It is amazing; but when you need to have your team full of “winners”, you don’t have time for the “losers” as they fall behind, never fully complete their assignments and drag the team down. And when you have to be a team of “can-do’s”, you “can’t-do” with a “can’t-do”.

Contaminated Recycling…is this you?

We have all been there. There’s no one around and we have a mix of garbage and recycling to place in one of our containers. What do we do? A majority of us will take the time to separate it out into each container and others may just place it all in the garbage container, not taking the time to separate out the recycling – boo hoo! Still others will just place it ALL in the recycling container, INCLUDING THE GARBAGE and that is called contamination.

Whoa, now! Let’s take a closer look so we are have a better understanding.

Those of us who separate out the recycling and do our part to keep as much waste out of the landfill are on the right path. The main goal of having varied sizes for your garbage container and only one large size for your recycle container, is to encourage recycling. The easier it is to recycle, the more of us will do it….or that is the thinking anyway. So, many will focus on the ideology of placing only their bare bones waste in their garbage cart and all of their recyclables in their larger recycle cart. Good job!

Next, we have those who are most likely not into recycling, which is fine. I can understand that but with just a little effort and having both carts right next to each other, one can recycle half of their household items, so why not separate it out? I never took the time to separate out my recycle at first. But once I did, I began to see that I filled my recycle cart about 3 times more than my smaller garbage cart.

This can be you too. If it is a option in your community, it makes it so easy to recycle and minimize your waste. You don’t have to be WasteZero right off the bat so start small and graduate up. And to start just work on placing a few items in the recycle cart and you will see it is an easy process. But, if you are going to be lazy in this category placing it all in the waste container is better than placing it all in the recycle container.

This option is at the bottom of the list and one that causes more work for many others downstream in the recycling process. Throwing your garbage in YOUR RECYCLING! Sinner! Ha…but this actually does more harm than you would think. Your single steam recycling is going to be sorted at some point and the more garbage in there, the more work for those sorting.

Of course, there will be some garbage that gets into the recycling but the more there is, the more work and time delays it causes the sorters. Contaminating the recycling can generate fines in some jurisdictions but it is the principle in that it does not belong in that container in the first place. Then it dirties the good clean recycling and causes more work for sorters to spend their time, which is just a bad deal all the way around.

So, why make more work for others where you don’t need to? Just be conscious and understand what is acceptable as recycling and do your best to make it happen. You can recycle many items without really thinking about it and it takes little effort. Try that this week – pay a little more attention to what you recycle and what you don’t!

Do you find this issue where you live or is it not that big of a deal? Have you ever bee fined or had you recycle cart checked for contamination? I’d love to hear back on how recycling is handled in your community.


“What Others Say About You….

…is NONE of your business!” That advice was given to me early on in my career and let me tell you, it has helped me keep focus when times got rough. But when it comes to people talking about your company in a negative way, whether external or internal, I WANT TO KNOW! Ha! Honestly, I have to say I get curious to know what the crew or outsiders feel is off about how we run things, so that I can fix them.

I do my best to look inward first to see where my actions have been off, then I will look outside myself. But the goal is to make myself, our team and company better, so I want to know the issues people are upset about, so that I can fix them. If I don’t know it is a problem, then, I don’t it is a problem, right?

Our class just read in Michael Hyatt’s book Platform, that in this day and age, a company can suffer a lot of branding damage fast on social media, and that is only one part. There is the local business community and then your internal crew. All areas need to be on the “aware” list so as to learn right away what might be stirring but my focus here is the internal component.

If the company needs to right some wrongs, then admit your mistakes, solve the problem and make it right. If it is an employee just being a bad apple, then that needs to be addressed in a different way….but you do not want a bad seed having a negative influence on the rest of the crew. It needs to be addressed one way or another.

So, in the end, as a manager, all information can be beneficial, especially negative feedback. As long as we are open to really hearing the truth, and then facing it head on, we can solve it and move forward. But you do have to address face it and while you can’t please everyone, you can be fair and honest with yourself and your team.

Numerous books are out there about all of this, so this blog is just a nibble at the surface but share any comments that you feel can add to it and perhaps just keep the relevance of this on the forefront in the work place. Because without your team there is no one to drive the trucks or answer the phones or breath life into the company.


Who Cares About Recycling?

Do you? Do you really? And what is recycling anyway? Some overly recycle their products and use more natural resources to recycle older sources, while others are lazy and throw everything into the garbage cart. What do you do? Have you bought into recycling and participate or do you feel it is a waste of money?

Now, depending on where you live can depend on the type of waste hauling services provided. In our area, we charge for the garbage cart but the customers will also get a recycle cart at no charge. They receive even more additional recycling services, such as used oil, but for this discussion, we will stick to the cart.

In our situation, by paying attention to just half of your items for recycling, that should cut down on your waste and eventually your bill. The less garbage you have the smaller garbage cart you need. Let’s face it, recycling is about dollars and cents most of the time because to be able to process the recyclables it will cost you to get the materials from your place to the bigger recycler.

But for the regular customer by attempting a little recycling, they can save themselves some money AND give a second life to most of their household products. And that is what recycling is all about. Anything that can get a second and even third life is recycling. Plus, if you decide not to use a product beforehand, now you are pre-cycling. It is not hard to do, as all it takes is “thinking ahead”, watching how you live and use products, and what you do with them when you are finished.

Go ahead, give it a try. You can start by being light green if you are burnt out with everyone going green. It is about doing and not always talking, so test it and see if by a little effort you can add a lot more recycling to your recycle cart.

More Focused Blog Direction

Greetings! Am I wasting your time? Are my blog posts cancelled out and bypassed? Probably. And why? Honestly, I don’t feel that I have caught your attention or made it worth your time to read what I type. As I have mentioned before, this is all new to me. normally I observe and just read but never engage. In this course I am taking, having me step out is its main goal and after having received some social media advice from a colleague, I will stick to the following blogging topics:

  • Waste & Recycling news/ideas
  • Leadership/Management
  • Politics in the workplace

All three of these topics fill my everyday calendar and now that I am more focused, I will do my best to shoot quick darts to keep it interesting within these parameters. We’ll see what comes of it but it will help me decompress from the day some. But just on the surface, there are a lot of unknowns in the waste/recycle industry and many myths. And building on my past blog posts, I will share the truth in these topics and be objective when discussing.

As we move along, I encourage you to comment and say anything on your mind. I know that I am not always right, nor do I try to be; rather, I want to discuss and share, so be honest but also respectful so we can further the discussion. Awesome!

Last comment, a tip! If you have extra trash and don’t want to pay extra fees, you might want to leave some soda or beer for your route driver. 9 times out of 10, they will take your extra trash no questions asked. I know I did when on route, especially when I received a little extra. Ha!

What’s My Purpose?

So, for my eMBA program, we are in a class that emerges us into the world of social media. It has been huge challenge for me, as per our class requirements we are to blog, send tweets and use the many resources that social media offers. That is fantastic, and for a business must. Yet, for a private person, one who borders as a recluse for personal sharing, I feel I am forcing it and am a bit out of place trying to find my purpose here.

Deep down, I know we all have many things to offer others directly or indirectly in our lives. Over time, I have found that my outlook is not as common as most people that I have come in contact with, so I feel that I challenge others in ways that few would. But, putting that into a blog is entirely different and without a purpose just becomes a waste of words.

My problem is that I need a theme and at this time with assignments due, don’t really have one. Maybe, that is my theme – to find a theme. Anyway, but that is why I am blogging and coming up with topic discussions because it is part of my assignment and I am trying to think of topics interesting to me that no one seems to want to discuss. With you only agenda to find that truth you find out so much more as you are not blinded by your preconceived notions. It is amazing how exciting it can be discussing a subject that you are unbiased and really don’t care about.

So, that is my dilemma, finding a blog theme. I work in the waste and recycling industry but don’t really want to discuss more about it since I do that all week long. I’ll find something consistent but if you must know – there is no money in recycling, maybe metal when prices were high, but it costs a lot of money just to recycle products that by the end of the day it is cheaper, and probably less resources used, to just bury it. It is not all about money but it is a factor that you can’t just ask the government for as someone has to pay or not get paid.