YMCA of Lino Lakes


What: Improve single-stream recycling collection after receiving Anoka County grant to purchase bins and labels for front and back-of-house collection.

Why: To reduce their environmental impact and generate less waste.

How: Worked with Waste Wise to create effective internal collection procedures.

Results: Diverting 28,912 pounds of single stream recycling from the landfill every year.


When Minnesota Waste Wise was connected with the YMCA of Lino Lakes, a recycling service was already in place, however, the organization knew improvements were necessary to maximize the success of the program. Antonio Orozco, Custodial Supervisor, wanted to make improvements for both front and back-of-house collection of paper, cardboard, and bottles. Waste Wise initially conducted a site assessment and provided recommendations and educational resources to improve the collection of recyclable materials and educate both members and staff on what can be recycled and what is still considered a trash item.

After discussing the opportunities and resources available for improvement, the YMCA of Lino Lakes received an Anoka County Business Recycling grant to cover the costs of adding color-coded recycling bins around the facility, appropriate labels, and assistance with program implementation. It was evident after setting up the bins and signage, the YMCA would achieve increased waste diversion from the landfills while providing a service members had been asking about. “Members are really awesome!” Orozco said, “Before they were asking for recycling. People are certainly responsive, especially after we put up the labels.” He noted members help each other in case they are not sure which bin to put their water bottle into and have provided excellent feedback about the opportunity to now recycle on-site.

Staff has also positively responded to implementing best practices for recycling collection; at staff meetings, they discuss with each other any questions or suggestions on how to improve collection both in the office and around the facility. With the improved recycling program in place, the YMCA is now diverting an estimated 28,912 pounds of recyclable material per year and intend to keep improving. Orozco is thrilled at the results they have achieved and is excited about the opportunity to serve as a model for other YMCA locations. He added “We’ve had great feedback, especially among staff! We knew recycling was a great thing and are happy that now we are doing it. We would like to be a representative to help get recycling started across the organization.” Waste Wise and the YMCA of Lino Lakes will continue collaborating to improve the recycling program and maximize their waste reduction efforts.