Step #1: Identify Program "Champion" & Establish Team
The selection of a dedicated, enthusiastic, and creative program
manager (champion) is critical to the success of a "world class" program. In
the initial stages of this program, it is recommended that this individual
have no other full-time responsibilities. The program manager must be able to
dedicate 100 percent of his/her time to the program.
The manager should have the overall responsibility for
implementing a resource recovery and recycling program. The manager is
responsible for gathering information from all recycling activities; reporting
on solid waste reduction and affirmative procurement activities; environmental
compliance of the program; and employee education. Remember that the program
must also comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Once the champion has been identified, a team should be
established to assist in developing the program. Part of the team's charter
should be to examine all imaginative ideas, logistically feasible or not, with
the premise that "nothing is impossible." Team members should pursue
opportunities using their own expertise as well as leveraging the knowledge
from other field experts who deal directly with these issues on a daily
The team should meet regularly to present new ideas and provide
updates to previous suggestions. In addition to the team champion, the team
will need subteam leaders to work on and chair specific program components
such as information gathering, training, resources, and floor space subteams.
These subteam leaders are the support group for the champion and will provide
back-up leadership in the event that other team members are absent or
performing other duties. Together they will make up the core team whose
purpose is to create the program agenda, identify and/or accomplish action
items, serve as a "gatekeeper" during meetings, and be knowledgeable back-up
for the champion.
To assist in educating team members, it is suggested that a
visit be scheduled to at least one recycling company to get education on what
commodities (i.e., paper, plastics, metals) will be the easiest to recycle.
Another important criteria is to identify those commodities that are dead-end
materials (i.e., commingled plastics, contaminated paper products) that may
not be considered during the initial start-up phase. The overall goal of the
team should be the pursuit of new, innovative opportunities for waste
reduction and pollution prevention.
In today's business environment,
the probability that a fulltime person will be available to manage this
program is remote at best, at least in the early stages. As the program gets
"up and running," more time must be allowed for the manager to supervise and
expand the program. Fulltime dedication from the champion - from the start -
will obviously help ensure a "world class" program. Having a trained back-up
person for the champion's normal duties will help the overall continuity of
the recycling program.
While on the discussion of team
building ideas, it is helpful to ensure that all the teams established are
crossfunctional (i.e., salaried, hourly, union) and include several different
disciplines such as Maintenance, Human Resources, Purchasing, Union
Leadership, and so forth. For example, it would be helpful to gain a
supportive team member from the purchasing department to assist your efforts
in reducing the incoming packaging. Crossfunctional teams provide for a better
overall knowledge of the personalities and processes of your facility and will
help ensure that the program will be more readily accepted.
One of your team's goals is to grow and foster a
positive and personal ownership of the program throughout the workforce. You
need to get the momentum rolling to ensure the buy-in and support of the yet
undecided. Experience shows that when employees' ideas are incorporated into
the day-to-day interworkings of the business, any changes that result from
these ideas are more readily supported by the majority of the