Keep the Momentum Going

Posted on April 18, 2013

Through eleven weeks of the KARE 11 Great Green Challenge, viewers witnessed recycling champion Meteorologist Laura Betker raise awareness with her co-workers and change behaviors. Laura's successful experience is motivating people in businesses throughout the metro region to start or increase recycling efforts.

For the final installment, Laura visited The Emily Program in St. Paul, which has increased their recycling efforts, just like KARE 11. The Emily Program provides services to people with eating disorders. Laura interviewed Hilmar Wagner, director of Nutrition Services, who says recycling food waste has made a big impact.

He puts it like this, "It's been dramatic now. At the end of the day I'll open one of the trash bins and it will be half full, where before they were full to the brim. And the only bin that is full is the one that contains the organic recycling."

Wagner says the recycling has been good for morale, with the staff and clients excited about the changes. It could be good for business as well. Already they've reduced the size of their dumpster, and they may make additional changes to their waste management services. See the full story here.

Each week leading up to Earth Day, Laura tackled a different aspect of going green at work.  Let's recap. First, she secured management's support for the effort. Next, she went dumpster diving to discover what was in their garbage. She learned 30 percent of what was in the dumpster could be recycled.

She set out to help co-workers understand how to reduce the amount of material that went to the dumpster through efforts to reduce, recycle and reuse. All episodes can be viewed on KARE 11's website. The steps include:

  • Find a Champion
  • Look in the Bin
  • Reducing Waste
  • Troubleshooting the Program
  • Don't Throw It Away
  • Reducing Waste at Meetings
  • Composting
  • Buying Green Products
  • Eco-Friendly Landscaping
  • Train Your Staff


Several of these steps will save your business money. Plus, when companies start or increase recycling efforts, we all benefit. Recycling saves energy, benefits our economy and protects our natural resources.

Minnesotans recycle more than 2 million tons of material annually, but there is room for improvement. Recent studies show 21 percent of our trash is recyclable paper and more than half of the people in Minnesota don't recycle at all.

Rethink Recycling congratulates Laura Betker and KARE 11 for the tremendous progress they've made in just 11 weeks. They are a terrific example for others.

Follow KARE 11's lead in going green at work. Rethink Recycling has free resources to help you. Visit to learn more. Then we encourage you to take the pledge to start or improve recycling at your workplace or business. Be a champion, take the pledge, and join the Recycling Revolution today!

See a list of the great companies that have taken the pledge here.


With all the pollution in the air today, small companies of about 500 could have the opportunity to reduce just their paper waste dramatically. After conducting research I have found a small company of 500 people could possibly use a ton of paper within two years. If this paper was recycled they could save 70% of resources used to make a ton of new paper. Recycling paper could save some of our limited resources like 60,000 gallons of water, 9,000 pounds of steam and 225 kilowatt hours to make another ton of new paper. What a big difference recycling in the work place could make. If companies were to educated their employees of this information and provide incentives for doing so, people would be able to limit the amount of new paper needing to be created and just recycle what we do have. Talk about putting little effort to stop the warming of our climate.

Have you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

Add new comment

Blog Archive