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Kim Ramsden / Chris Bauer, PR Co-Directors, Science Museum of Minnesota, (651) 221-9423
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2013
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PROJECT NO WASTE RESULTS ARE IN: SCIENCE MUSEUM OF MINNESOTA QUADRUPLES ITS RECYCLING RATE
Downtown Saint Paul museum recycled 75% of its total waste last quarter
St. Paul, Minn. – The Science Museum of Minnesota announced this week that it has quadrupled its recycling rate since the 2011 launch of Project No Waste, its comprehensive waste management program.
Results of a fiscal year-end assessment revealed that the Science Museum achieved its goal of a 75% recycling rate in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013 (ending June 30, 2013). From July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, the Science Museum recycled more than 187 tons of material.
"One of our goals for Project No Waste—in addition to reducing the amount of trash we put in landfills—is to serve as a model for our community at large," says Mike Day, Senior Vice President at the Science Museum of Minnesota. "Any building that serves a large number of people, whether a business, a school, or an apartment or condominium, can learn from us and our success in reaching an ambitious goal. With the support of our museum visitors and staff, we have learned what it takes to fulfill a firm commitment to waste reduction."
Project No Waste began with an overall waste management assessment, which revealed that the museum was recycling only 18 percent of the more than 500,000 pounds of waste it generated each year. The result was the implementation of an ongoing program that involves waste management and recycling from all areas of the museum—from the loading dock to Elements Café, from the exhibit production shop to the classrooms.
More than half of the material going through the museum's waste stream has been funneled into a new, more comprehensive organics recycling—or composting—program. Construction waste from the museum's exhibit production shop is another big portion of total waste; Project No Waste has focused on isolating and recycling these larger items. The Science Museum has also placed renewed effort on properly sorting and recycling paper, plastic, aluminum and glass
Project No Waste has a visible presence in all the museum's public spaces, as well as in the kitchens and back-of-house staff areas. The waste collection receptacles were specifically designed for simplicity and ease-of-use, with clear labeling that features pictures of items that can go in specific bins. Behind the scenes, the museum invested in an infrastructure that features equipment and technology that allow custodial staff to easily and efficiently manage the waste disposal and recycling process.
In the early stages of the initiative, the museum offered thorough recycling education for Science Museum staff in behind-the-scenes areas, and staff members and volunteers were on hand to help visitors sort their waste into the proper bins. After two years of implementation, staff and visitors are finding that proper disposal of trash and recyclables has become almost second-nature.
Project No Waste was made possible, in part, through a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), with assistance from the City of Saint Paul. Its success has inspired the MPCA to use it as an example. They will use the Science Museum's development, design and production services to create an exhibit that will illustrate the power of composting. Once complete, it will open at the Science Museum and travel around the state. Planning for this project begins later this summer.
Among the nation's largest and most esteemed science museums, the Science Museum of Minnesota inspires hundreds of thousands of people each year. The museum conducts research, collects and preserves artifacts, produces and distributes award-winning exhibits and giant screen films, and offers educational programs for children, families, and adults. For more information, call (651) 221-9444 or visit www.smm.org.
Project No Waste public website - www.smm.org/projectnowaste