Especially for Children


What: Adding recycling to two locations in Anoka County and educating their young learners about recycling.

Why: To improve their impact on the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders about recycling.

How: Used Anoka County’s recycling grant to get children friendly bins for recycling, with future plans of implementing organics recycling.

Results: Diverting over 14,000 pounds of recyclable material between the two locations every year.

Especially for Kids

Especially for Children operates eight childcare centers throughout the Twin Cities and have two in Anoka County. As part of their ongoing initiative to educate their early learners about the environment, Especially for Children has implemented new recycling programs at their facilities in Coon Rapids and Circle Pines. To begin the process, Especially for Children met with the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation to help them access Anoka County’s recycling grant funding and ensure their new recycling program got off on the right foot.

Waste Wise and Especially for Children worked together to decide which bins would work best to allow children to recycle and how to best educate students and staff about recycling. Director of Operations, Alli Zomer, was committed to making sure the children and families that they serve not only helped improve the environment by recycling more, but also that they gained knowledge about how to recycle and why recycling is important.

“Children learn through doing, so we are thrilled we can provide them hands-on experience to understand what recycling looks like and why it matters,” commented Zomer. Once the bins and signs arrived, children and staff in Coon Rapids and Circle Pines were able to begin collecting recyclable materials from lunch and snack time and also the large amounts of recyclable paper that get generated throughout the day. “Our students really understand what is recyclable and what isn’t,” said Linda Burck who manages the Circle Pines location.

As a result of these great efforts, each Especially for Children location is now estimated to be recycling more than 7,000 pounds of material every year that previously went in the trash. “We are proud of the amount we are recycling, and we are honored we can play a role in educating children and families about the shared effort necessary to care for our planet,” said Zomer.

Especially for Children is now working very hard to implement organics recycling at their Circle Pines location so all of their food scraps, paper towels, and compostable serviceware will be able to be recycled into nutrient rich compost.