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Sarah’s… An Oasis for Women is a home for women from all over the world who have survived violence, abuse, torture, war, discrimination and trauma.

Challenge

Sarah’s… An Oasis for Women is a home and safe place for women that empowers them to begin new and productive lives. To house manager Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, teaching the home’s 29 residents sustainable behaviors and practices is a critical part of this new start.

Nelson-Pallmeyer, a certified Master Recycler, had a single-sort recycling program in place at Sarah’s Oasis. They decided the next step would be to start an organics recycling program. Nelson-Pallmeyer filled out the contact form on the BizRecycling website to get started.

How We Helped

BizRecycling connected Nelson-Pallmeyer with one of our Recycling Experts. The Recycling Expert went to Sarah’s Oasis to evaluate their waste stream and recycling program. The facility has a full-scale commercial kitchen along with multiple bathrooms and a laundry room. An organics recycling program would have the potential to divert a significant portion of the facility’s waste.

Finding an affordable hauler was challenging, due to the relatively low volume of trash produced at Sarah’s Oasis. Our Recycling Expert connected Nelson-Pallmeyer with a hauler that had taken on smaller-volume accounts in the past. The hauler’s existing route density allowed them to offer affordable trash and commercial composting services.

Sarah’s Oasis also needed help continually educating the facility’s residents about recycling. Since 1996, over 600 women have called Sarah’s home, and the facility’s 29 residents rotate in and out of the facility on a regular basis. “Because English is not the first language for all of our residents and because they come from countries in which all solid waste went together, learning on how to sort their waste is a challenge,” said Nelson-Pallmeyer.

Sarah’s Oasis applied for and received a BizRecycling Grant. They used this funding to purchase bins and compostable bags for organics recycling. They also bought a single-sort recycling bin and label for every resident’s room, helping make recycling a part of their daily lives. Sarah’s Oasis also received a Community POWER grant to help pay for staff time involved in the ongoing education of the building’s residents.

Outcome

Nelson-Pallmeyer credits the grants with helping ensure the program’s success, saying, “We have been able to purchase bins and signage to help our residents sort their solid waste. With separate bins for organics, mixed recyclables and trash our residents are learning how they can have a positive impact on the environment.”

Since the implementation of the new organics program, Sarah’s Oasis has composted nearly 1,000 pounds of organics every month, without any increase in hauling costs. The education efforts at Sarah’s are paying off as well, as the resident are catching on and participating in recycling.

“We know it’s a huge learning curve but we are excited by the behavior changes already made and look forward to more behavior change to come,” said Nelson-Pallmeyer. “I would definitely recommend the BizRecycling program to other organizations and businesses because it saves money, it does the right thing for the world, and it encourages people to think and act in a new way.”