St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District: Growing Recycling Since 1993


The waste reduction and recycling efforts of the residents and businesses in the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District are improving our environment everyday. Through these efforts, waste diversion from landfills has increased in the district from 10 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2008, and the results are clear; cleaner air and water, green jobs for our economy, less pollution and reduced greenhouse gases.

The St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District is a regional agency that was created to help establish and expand waste reduction and recycling efforts in the St. Louis area. The District includes the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County.

The District now serves more than 120 municipalities, as well as a significant amount of urban unincorporated areas.  A tremendous variety of waste reduction and recycling programs have been implemented to meet local community needs. These local programs help expand our economy, protect our environment, and strengthen our communities.

A major tool the District has to achieve Missouri’s waste reduction goals is its annual Recycling Grant Program.  Over the years, the District has awarded over 750 grants for waste reduction, recycling, composting, education, and household hazardous waste projects. The annual District Grant Program provides valuable assistance to governments, private businesses and not-for-profit organizations in the implementation of a wide variety of these local waste reduction and recycling projects.

The District is proud to support the dedicated efforts of everyone involved in growing our regional recycling industry.

For more information please visit online at www.swmd.net.



ReSource St. Louis = Materials For Reuse

By Sara Graham

President – ReSource St. Louis

According to the 2008, Missouri Waste Composition Study, there are over 900,000 tons of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste that are not part of any recycling efforts. The St. Louis Region is blessed with a generous amount of open space, which means it’s very easy to overlook where our waste ends up.  In addition, our tipping fees are relatively low compared to the rest of the country.  In the last 2 years, the ReSource St. Louis Materials Exchange has diverted 134,000 pounds of construction and demolition waste from landfills. ReSource St. Louis is focused on materials reuse offering the only website in the St. Louis region for commercial organizations to offer materials to have a second life BEFORE they need to be recycled.  Registering on the ReSource St. Louis website is completely free, saves landfill tipping fees, and can even offer an opportunity to make money.

A common challenge that C&D companies face is their quick and tight schedules.  When they have a date for demolition, they need to get materials down and out extremely quickly.  ReSource St. Louis realized this early and last year launched a feature on their site to address this – they offer “Pre-Cycling”.  This allows a contractor or client to post items far enough in advance as desired and include a date available.  This will allow promotion on the website in order to attract interested parties and set up a date for pick up in time for the actual date of demolition.

The website is open to absolutely anyone.  C&D contractors frequently utilize the site, as the ones responsible for large quantities of reusable materials.  Moreover owners and Facility-Property Managers are in a unique position to save funds during a renovation if they smartly work in advance of a tear down or demolition deadline to access the connections on the ReSource website.   The process to use the website is simple:  1. Register for an account.  2. Input information about the material, ideally including a photo.  That’s it!

Common reuse items include carpet, ceiling tile, doors, lumber and plywood, lighting, furniture, windows, piping, wiring, telecommunications equipment, paint, tools, lawn care items… the list goes on and on!  Some uncommon reuse items that people many not think of as reusable or recyclable but are marketable include wiring and piping.  Also, unusual architectural features, gates, chains, security structures – it’s hard to know what is of value to others for reuse.    A general rule of thumb – if it is still useful, it’s good!  It doesn’t matter how old or new, how large or small, or even far away from the city – somebody might want it.

For more information on Resource St. Louis go to www.resourcestlouis.org.




Happy April Fools’ Day Birthday!

by Rebecca Shelby

Happy Birthday Remains, Inc.!  It all began nearly 30 years ago with the opening of a small retail shop on April Fools’ Day.  Remains, Inc. has since grown into a significant component of keeping infinite volumes of unusable or unwanted textiles (clothes, shoes, purses, etc.) out of landfills.

Remains, Inc. is a consolidator of bulk commodities that purchases textiles primarily from small thrift shops and charities.  Combined, these smaller organizations accumulate huge amounts of unusable or unsuitable textiles, yet they don’t have the capacity to bale and market these materials in order to keep them out of landfills.  Since Remains purchases textiles by the pound, the money that is generated often goes back into the operations of the services organizations.  The sorting, processing and marketing continues with other processors until the textiles are ready for specific reuse or recycling.

One may wonder about whether the clothing shouldn’t be kept on hand for people in need.  As it happens, charities and shelters – just like everyone else – need to “clean out their closets” every so often.  And it may not always be possible for small organizations to store large amounts of winter items that are generally donated during warm weather.

Remains also supports fundraisers for schools, churches, etc. by purchasing textiles generated from clothing and shoe drives.  Remains provides a cargo trailer for collection events, which can range from two weeks to one weekend.  The containers are collected, contents weighed and Remains pays the fundraiser by the pound.   For additional information on fundraising opportunities, please contact Paul Wight of Remains, Inc. at 314-865-0303.

Another endeavor of Remains, Inc. is manufacturing paper from recycled materials.  After much research into the handmade paper industry, Kelly Stewart, president of Remains, Inc., joined forces with Ted Gast to form Arch Paper.  Their debut product is the first pure mixture of 100% cotton made totally from post-consumer textiles.

Their newest venture is making paper from coffee bean bags, which consist of jute, burlap or sisal plant fibers.   Remains and Arch Paper have successfully manufactured a high-quality paper consisting of 50% coffee bean bags and 50% other post-consumer textiles.  The light-brown, medium weight paper is suitable for various applications and markets, such as coffee houses.  Not only it helps close the loop by recycling the bags coffee houses generate in great quantities, the color and quality of the recycled product lends itself to this application.

For more information about using these unique blends of recycled paper, please visit Arch Paper at www.archpaper.net.  Remains, Inc. is located at 3340 Morganford Road, St. Louis, MO 63116.  The phone number is 314-865-0303.




St. Louis Area Entrepreneurs Make Significant Green Strides Toward Sustainability

Imagine a hair stylist who uses non toxic hair colorant, recycles the empty product bottles, uses a water reduction device on the shampoo sink and composts hair clippings. That type of extreme green business model might be found in San Francisco but in the St. Louis region entrepreneurs are making significant green strides toward sustainability.

Take for example Local Harvest, a grocery store in the Tower Grove neighborhood, where at least 50% of the products come from 150 miles or less away. This unique grocery store offers organic food, free range eggs, grass-fed meats and non-toxic household cleaning items and locally grown seasonal produce. You won’t find foam trays filled with produce and at the check out counter they use old boxes or biodegradable bags – best of all they are not surprised when you bring your own bag. The folks at Local Harvest Grocery are redefining the grocery business in a retro-eco way and at the same time and equally important by their success challenging others to follow.

Across the street Local Harvest Café is busy sourcing purveyors of produce and other culinary goodies from the St. Louis region. The grocery and café share partners, Maddie Earnest and Patrick Horine.  The philosophy is the same at the café – local is sustainable. What makes this café green is the large menu selection of extremely tasty wholesome local food fare and kitchen and dining room waste reduction measures such as onsite recycling and biodegradable take out boxes. Local Harvest Café offers catering for off-site events and they bring the same sustainable attitude and actions with them.

Home Eco located in the South Hampton (SOHA) neighborhood is a unique type of general store. Inside, local products line the shelves and for sale are eco-goods such as solar panels, eco-timber, rain barrels, compost bins, patio furniture made from recycled plastic and eco-friendly cleaning supplies – an amazing assortment of green products. The proprietors Terry Winkelmann and Phil Judd opened Home Eco in 2005 and offer green living classes and are active members of St. Louis Green Drinks. Terry and Phil emulate a green lifestyle and are eco-entrepreneurs that not only need recognition for operating a true green business more importantly they deserve and need a growing clientele that aligns their buying habits with their green rhetoric.

Finding a true green business means first of all keeping your eyes open and not being hesitant to ask important questions.  Depending on the type of business the green emphasis should shift to the environmentally sensitive areas that have the most positive impact.  Those major areas include waste reduction, energy use, purchasing and transportation policies just to name a few.  For example a lawn care company should recycle paper in their office but more importantly do they offer composting information to their customers and encourage organic lawn care methods?  To find local businesses that think green visit St. Louis Green website at www.stlouisgreen.com.  Operating a green business is unchartered territory but there are organizations such as the St. Louis Green Business Challenge part of the RCGA’s St. Louis Climate Prosperity Project whose mission is to help move St. Louis to a greenbelt economy that is home to green savings, green opportunities and green talent. Each of us has a responsibility to ask the businesses we support to make simple steps toward a sustainable green business model.



St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center:

Art From Reusable Resources

by Rebecca Shelby

The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Centers foster the infinite creativity and individual pride that emerges when children are connected to a wealth of unique resources – namely reusable resources – and are encouraged to play openly with their hands, hearts and minds.

The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Centers are now located in two malls – Crestwood Court’s ArtSpace and Chesterfield Mall’s ARTropolis.  Both locations are open to the public on alternating Tuesdays and each Saturday.  Appointments are available for special activities and services, such as birthday parties, scouting programs, teacher in-service training, field trips, math and science experiences and teacher training retreats.  (Please call 636-227-7095 for hours and appointments.)

The centers are stocked with unique and interesting items that are, in fact, being diverted from landfills and incinerators.   These products are comprised of overruns, discontinued items, rejects and other by-products from businesses and industries that are generated through various manufacturing processes or business productions.  Inventories vary depending on donations, but a sampling of items on hand might include beads, sponges, stickers, plastic, foam rubber and “punch outs” of wood.

The philosophy of the St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center involves children and adults, who are encouraged to experience this creative process and apply their individual knowledge to the limitless possibilities of using these materials.  The visualization and verbalization of this creative experience helps reinforce the ongoing value of our material resources while promoting awareness and respect for the environment.  The hope is that children and adults who experience the excitement and joy of reusing products in such a creative way will be empowered to reduce, reuse and recycle, in the future.

Susan Blanford, who created the St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center in 1993, explains, “This program offers our community a rich and abundant variety of reusable materials.  The SLTRC works to supply parents, children and educators with materials that engage our Hands, our Hearts and our Minds.”

The centers offer unique in-service workshops to introduce participants to the program’s suggested process.  Rather than provide the educators, parents or children with set curriculum to follow, the strategy is to let the children’s imagination ignite the process.  Participants are, for example, given a bag of items – without instructions – to create something on their own.  It may take time for participants to get started without examples or instructions, but the process usually results in some extremely creative outcomes that might not otherwise have been considered.

The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center program is open to educators and the general public.  Businesses that may have industry by-products, promotional materials or other reusable resources available are also encouraged to call.  Thanks to the program participants and product donors, roughly 10,000 pounds of reusable materials are processed out of the centers every three months.

For more information, call 636-227-7095,     visit www.sltrc.org, or you can e-mail Susan at sltrc@sbcglobal.net.


City of Wentzville: Recycling Incentive Program

by Jamie Paige

Just two years ago, residents in Wentzville recycled less than 7% of their waste. Besides feeling good, those who did recycle were not rewarded for their efforts. The City received public concerns about litter generated by their small, open-top recycling bins. At that time, trash was collected twice weekly. Municipal leaders recognized that the City could do more to incentivize residents to recycle, decrease landfill disposal costs, and generate some revenue to help stabilize waste service costs due to fluctuating gas prices.

A pilot grant for larger recycling carts with lids from the St. Louis Jefferson Solid Waste Management District helped elected officials and residents test drive a new way of providing trash and single stream recycling services in five subdivisions.  After one year, 700 participating homes recycled 400,000 pounds of material and raised their waste diversion, from 7% to an average of 25%. This project accomplished the City’s goals to increase recycling capacity, evaluate public reception of proposed changes, and prove the benefits of a one-day trash collection, cart-based recycling program.

The waste contract renewal with Wilson Waste, LLC broadcast these changes to the rest of the 8,300 homes and incorporated a recycling incentives and marketing program called Recycling Rewards. This program began in 2010 and uses revenue from recycling ($8.25 per ton) to distribute reward baskets to addresses that are randomly “caught” recycling.  Monthly prizes (a $75 value) include local entertainment gift cards, and eco-friendly and energy efficient products to make homes “greener.”  Twice yearly (Earth Day & America Recycles Day), a drawing is held for grand prizes: $1,500 in Energy Star products purchased from a local vendor. What’s unique about the program is that the more people recycle, the more money the program makes to give out more prizes.

So far the Recycling Rewards Program has generated public appeal to start recycling. City-wide, residents are recycling more—218% more actually, in January as compared to one year ago.  Overall, these statistics are positive indicators of the success of the grant project and future of the City’s recycling program.  The City’s goal is for everyone to divert an average of 25% of trash from landfills by the end of 2010. Since marketing is key, the program is promoted in more creative ways than just community newsletters.  For example, the Rewards Program sponsors local sports leagues by providing them with team t-shirts made from recycled content. Also, later this fall, staff and volunteer board members will be participating in community parades doing ‘synchronized’ recycling cart routines.

On the horizon, the City will be expanding municipal and community event recycling, and is considering business recycling opportunities.  As Wentzville residents help grow the program, the City keep looking for fun and unique ways to spread the word…recycle today, win tomorrow!

For more details on Wentzville’s Recycling Program, visit www.wentzvillemo.org.



Arm Strong Environmental:

GREEN Waste Solutions

for Apartment Communities

by Rebecca Shelby

Arm Strong Environmental is a St. Louis-based company that specializes in implementing “GREEN Waste Solutions for Apartment Communities.”  Arm Strong Environmental (ASE) has been successfully setting up, servicing and expanding recycling programs for apartment communities for more than a decade.  By teaming up with property owners and managers, listening to the residents, and keeping up-to-date on the trends and developments in the solid waste and recycling industries, ASE has continuously evolved its services to become a fully integrated solid waste solution.  This solution provides numerous benefits to the apartment community owner, the residents, and the environment.

Arm Strong Environmental offers both standard and customized programs, which can be tailored to meet the specific needs of various apartment complexes.  One common convenience for all participants is “valet” collection, where recycling is picked up at the resident’s doorstep.  In all programs, ASE provides educational material and training to apartment staff. ASE also educates and promotes the service to existing and prospective residents and informs them of additional recycling and reuse opportunities available in their community.

An ASE GREEN Certification has been established to set a standard in the apartment industry.  Through this approach, going GREEN encompasses a broader spectrum utilizing the 3 R’s: REDUCE through conservation, REUSE through donation, and RECYCLE our resources.  When the requirements are fulfilled, an apartment community will be awarded ASE GREEN Certification. The first to receive this certification was Park Forest Apartments in St. Louis, MO.  The standard is being pursued by other St. Louis properties as well, including Whispering Hills in Creve Coeur and Charter Place Apartments in St. Louis County.

Participating communities experience several benefits from the program, such as a significant decrease in the number of dumpster sites needed for waste, and subsequently, fewer dumpster trucks.  Residents can conveniently recycle paper, plastic, metal and glass at their doorstep – all in one container that will be picked up twice a week.  Programs can also include collection sites for other recyclables, such as cell phones, ink cartridges or rechargeable batteries.

For further information please visit the website: www.armstrongenvironmental.com.  ASE is dedicated to providing quality recycling to apartment communities.  Let ASE help your community GO GREEN and remember every item you recycle has jobs attached to it; every recyclable item put in the trash is a wasted American resource.





Find It On The Web:

Everyday Recycling Information


Local Recycling Info-Government

City of St. Louis  –


Jefferson County Residents –


St. Louis County Recycling Information –


St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District – www.swmd.net

St. Charles County Recycling Information – www.scchealth.org/docs/es

Associations, Organizations

& resources

America Recycles Day-


EcoLifeStl – www.EcoLifeStl.com

Envirolink – www.envirolink.org

Global Recycling Network – www.grn.com

Keep America Beautiful – www.Kab.org

Missouri Recycling Association – www.mora.org

National Recycling Coalition –


Resource St. Louis –


The Healthy Planet magazine:


e-cycle St. Louis – www.ecyclestlouis.org

e-cycle Missouri – www.e-cyclemo.org