Oak Haven Church


What: Adding single stream recycling and educating their congregation and visitors.

Why: To positively contribute to the overall well-being of the congregation, their neighbors, and the planet.

How: Utilized Anoka County’s recycling grant program and Waste Wise assistance to get bins and signs and provide education.

Results: Diverting over 11,500 pounds of recyclable material every

Oak Haven Church

Waste Wise met with Kris Johannsen, the Business Administrator for Oak Haven Church in late 2016 to identify opportunities for improved waste and recycling practices. Oak Haven is home to various Ham Lake community programs that bring in hundreds of visitors, worshipers, and students on a weekly basis. As such, Kris thought that it was important for Oak Haven to help people learn about recycling, why it is important, and demonstrate how to do it effectively while at the church.

After meeting with Waste Wise, Kris led an initiative to begin a more robust recycling program at Oak Haven Church. The church was able to add single stream recycling which allowed everyone to begin collecting recyclable bottles, cans, and containers in addition to the paper and cardboard that was already being collected. Oak Haven added bins and signs for free by using the Anoka County business recycling grant program which provides up to $10,000 worth of tools to help improve recycling to non-residential entities throughout Anoka County. Minnesota Waste Wise provided large dumpster magnets from Anoka County to ensure anyone who takes out the trash or recycling ultimately gets that material into the correct dumpster.

With all of the bins and signs in place, Oak Haven has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of recycling collected every week. The increase in awareness and understanding of the recycling program has diverted about 2 yards of material previously bound for the trash, into the recycling stream. “We have a lot of activity here,” commented Johannsen, “which means we’re seeing a lot less trash than we used to.” Using industry standard weight to volume conversions, Waste Wise estimates 11,752 pounds of material that used to go in the trash will now be recycled at Oak Haven Church. “It’s going well and we’re going to talk to everyone to make sure it keeps going well,” said Johannsen. All told, this expanded recycling program is a success for the church, its congregation, and the planet as a whole!