Saturday, April 1, 2023 began the start of Earth month and the Iowa Waste Reduction Center’s (IWRC) calendar filled up quickly. As an organization who is devoted to helping small businesses reduce waste, it is important that we lead by example and do our small part to help the environment.
Table of Contents
- City of Decorah Composting Grant and Composting Workshops
- #NationalGreenWeek Social Media Campaign
- City of Cedar Falls Clean Up Day
- Celebrate Earth Day at Camp Wakonda
- UNI BCS Instagram Tips to Reduce Waste in the Workplace video
- Wrap Up
1. CITY OF DECORAH COMPOSTING GRANT AND COMPOSTING WORKSHOPS
In early 2023, the City of Decorah was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a community composting pilot project. As part of the grant, the IWRC was asked to provide two of the five training workshops to educate residents on the importance of reducing municipal food waste, diverting food waste from the landfill, and turning food waste into the valuable resource of compost.
On April 13 and 22, Jenny Trent and Jason Clay made the trip up to scenic Decorah, IA to conduct food waste compost training workshops for residents within the community.
The workshops were designed to teach attendees:
- The value and benefits of using compost as well as best management practices to keep compost healthy and active;
- The importance of selecting proper feedstocks, carbon to nitrogen ratios, mixing, moisture content, air, temperature, curing, and limiting odors;
- How to measure bulk density, free air space, and how to calculate carbon to nitrogen ratios of mixed feedstocks; and
- How to gauge the health of the compost as well as troubleshoot issues such as noxious odors and/or a lack of breakdown.
Jenny and Jason led both a classroom discussion and hands-on activity as part of their training workshop. The best part was that any Winneshiek County resident who completed the training and who had ordered a home composter, received it at no cost!
2. #NATIONALGREENWEEK SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
As noted in the hashtag, #NationalGreenWeek is a national awareness initiative specifically designed to empower schools to engage in sustainably focused lessons, projects or activities. The initiative asks schools to choose one week during the first full week in February through April 30 to focus on sustainability topics and explore ways they can make a difference.
The IWRC decided to expand the scope of this initiative to their own organization and ran a series of social media posts highlighting the sustainable methods several staff members were using in their personal lives to make a difference such as:
- LED Lighting
- Repurposed clothing
- Rain barrels
- Green Brewery supporter
Follow us and see the full series of posts on the IWRC Facebook page.
3. CITY OF CEDAR FALLS, IA CLEAN UP DAY
Every year, the IWRC chooses a local clean-up activity to participate in for Earth Day. This year 11 staff participated in the City of Cedar Falls Earth Week. Armed with rubber gloves and garbage bags, we began out our front door and walked up College Hill and collected roughly five bags of trash.
The group capped off the clean-up with a social outing at the Octopus on College Hill. Who says cleaning can’t be fun. Now the College Hill corridor has a fresh start for Spring.
4. CELEBRATE EARTH DAY AT CAMP WAKONDA
April 22nd brought another opportunity for education and hands-on activities. This time, IWRC Environmental Specialist, Jason Clay, was in Central City, IA to provide composting and vermicomposting education during the Celebrate Earth Day at Camp Wakonda event. It was a chilly day but that didn’t keep nearly 40 people from visiting Jason’s station. Apparently, the worms were the star of the show!
The event was open to the public as well as provided an opportunity for Cub Scout & Scouts to fulfill their BSA requirements by participating in any of the conservation activities or service projects.
5. UNI BCS INSTAGRAM: TIPS TO REDUCE WASTE IN THE WORKPLACE VIDEO
To wrap up a month celebrating our Earth, the IWRC joined forces with the University of Northern Iowa’s Business and Community Services marketing intern, Kate McAlister, to capture staff tips to reduce waste in the workplace.
- Bring leftovers to work
- Plan ahead to reduce purchasing unnecessary items
- Eliminate the single serve coffee makers
- Have designated bins to separate recyclables from trash
These are just a few tips to help your workplace reduce its impact on the environment. You can see the full reel on the UNI_BCS Instagram page.
It has been a busy month but our work doesn’t stop! If your community or business is looking to reduce its environmental impact and/or required to meet environmental compliance standards, let us help! Contact the IWRC for assistance anytime at iwrc.uni.edu or by calling 319-273-8905.