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The decision to move to appointment-only recycling at the Stella Roberts Recycling Center

The COVID-19 world in which we now live has brought many challenges that individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits like ours must learn to endure and overcome. Keep Pearland Beautiful faced these challenges head-on, as best we could, in an effort to ensure that our community retained access to recycling services at a time when catching up on getting things organized was at an all-time high!

For much of the pandemic, we operated with limited hours and enhanced social distancing protocols in place to ensure the safety of both our visitors and employees. Based on feedback, the 9AM to 1PM timeframe was too limited for many people and, due to increased demand, wait times were long as staff was overwhelmed with receiving, sorting, recording, and processing material that was being brought to our facility. Due to the sheer amount of material being brought to the facility, however, our limited staff required additional time to process material at the end of the day. With limited resources and a limited volunteer base to assist with daily operations, Keep Pearland Beautiful was unable to increase its capacity to accept additional material without first having a way to directly communicate with visitors the importance of material sorting, cleanliness, and ease of access by KPB employees at the time of delivery.

As 2021 progressed, so did the challenges that we faced which included supply chain issues which both limited access to as well as increased, dramatically, the price to obtain the supplies required to properly process and package certain hazardous materials for shipping according to government and vendor regulations. Thus, in September of 2021, we made the decision to move to appointment-only recycling at the Stella Roberts Recycling Center.

While we anticipated some frustration from the communities that we serve, we were confident that this shift would result in better quality materials being delivered as well as better behaviors being instilled in our visitors to the recycling center. Launching the appointments allowed KPB to better anticipate the type and quantity of material being delivered as well as gave us the opportunity to engage with visitors to share with them important recycling education ahead of their visit. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the overall contamination rate which has increased the amount of material diverted from landfills. Additionally, even with appointments in place, the amount of material brought to our facility has continued to increase; we’re receiving higher quantities of higher quality material. This was a great success and a step forward in achieving our mission.

Feedback shared by visitors to our center shows that, of over 200 surveys conducted, 95% of respondents rated their experience a 9/10 or greater on a Likert scale where 1 is worst and 10 is best. Comments indicate that survey respondents prefer the appointment-based system over the previous system which caused extended wait times and confusion on what materials are accepted. Based on additional feedback, we have enhanced signage and communication with visitors which has improved the visitor experience and we will continue to make improvements as we receive your feedback.

Until supply chain issues are resolved and we can better secure the required supplies for processing the materials that are brought to our center, appointments will continue. We are constantly monitoring our operations, feedback, and market conditions to best accommodate the demands of our community. We thank you for your patience and detailed feedback about your experience. Your cooperation has truly made a positive impact on the quality of recycling in our greater community and we thank you for doing your part to help Keep Pearland Beautiful.