In the Spring of 2017 Andy Solomon, General Manager of Chili’s in Blaine, made a decision to meet with the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation to identify opportunities for improved recycling among his employees. Following this meeting, Solomon decided to take advantage of the Anoka County business recycling grant to obtain free bins and signs to help employees begin to recycle more materials in the kitchen and prep areas.
Solomon worked with Waste Wise to identify the style and placement of recycling receptacles that would best encourage employees to begin recycling materials they had previously been throwing in the trash. These “new” recyclables included plastic condiment containers, metal cans, plastic cups, and more recyclable paper.
Waste Wise was able to work with Chili’s throughout the grant application process. New bins and signs were on hand at the restaurant very shortly after the grant application was submitted. Andy was quick to make sure every trash can was paired with a blue recycling partner and all of his bins were properly labeled. The only thing left to do was train his staff. “It really hasn’t been added work for us, and we see a difference in how much we’re throwing away,” said Solomon.
With all of the new recycling collections in place and staff awareness at its height, Chili’s in Blaine is estimated to be recycling just under 17,000 pounds of recyclable material annually. “Some employees are really committed to recycling here and it shows,” commented Solomon.
Chili’s is very excited about the progress they’ve already made and is open to seeing how further recycling improvements, like organics recycling, may be able to help in the future.