The ‘Less is More’ Class for Employers

Master Recycler, former Metro Regional Government Recycling Information Specialist, and waste reduction advocate Betty Shelley and her husband, Jon, have had just one 32-gallon can of garbage per year since 2006. After so many people asked how they accomplished this, they decided to offer a class to help others realize they too could reduce their waste.

Do you know how much your business / organization spends on waste removal each year? Costs add up depending on factors including business operations, employee cost, and municipal rates. What about employee retention? According to Bain, an increasing number of employees are concerned with their company’s sustainability program and practices.

So how do you as an employer show your staff that you are serious about sustainability? Yes, it helps to set up recycling stations and provide reusable water bottles and cups. However, by offering our interactive class which engages folks on a personal level, your staff internalizes the information, leading to increased participation in waste reduction, innovation and ultimately, to company cost-savings. Employee engagement in sustainability also produces benefits such as increased productivity. As highlighted in Andrew Savitz’s 2013 book, Talent, Transformation and the Triple Bottom Line, companies with sustainability engagement initiatives realized increases in overall engagement rates, even for employees who did not participate, by virtue of an engagement “halo effect”.

What are the benefits of offering the Less is More class to your employees?

  • Encourage employees to recognize their own impact and participate more fully in existing waste reduction programs.
  • Enhance waste reduction and recycling in the workplace, resulting in resource and cost savings.
  • Institute or revitalize a Green Team.
  • Connect with other area businesses promoting sustainability practices.
  • Generate positive publicity to share with clients and stakeholders.

The Less is More course content is presented in short segments of three to four one-hour sessions, making it simple to assimilate and act upon. Participants actively engage with one another rather than passively listening. Homework assignments such as evaluating one’s own garbage help raise awareness.

Typical topics covered:

  • The benefits of waste reduction
  • Consequences of resource waste
  • The three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Moving upstream – avoiding waste in the first place
  • Learning about recycling facilities and landfill operations

I urge you to consider the Less is More class for your employees. Participants learn practices which translate into waste reduction practices in the workplace and home. You will witness a sense of engagement and self-satisfaction as employees contribute to the well-being of the company and the environment. As one class member said: “Once you understand this issue, you can never go back to the other way of doing things”.

Our Participants Say:

  • Jaylen

    “I liked the idea that everything comes from the Earth, and the need for reuse and refusal is tantamount. I liked the Re- exercise…Thinking of all the ways we can Re- in our lives was great.”


  • Tracey

    "The variety of ways you taught the material kept me engaged and focused (you’re a master teacher also). I liked all the exercises, group activities and videos; the power of group learning was quite evident. Your passion and sincerity are quite obvious. I felt I was being taught by someone who walks their talk, enjoys it and was inspiring."

  • Honore

    "It's funny to think how my change in worldview and passion for recycling and materials management began in that little high school classroom with you way back in 2008(?). I'm very thankful to have met you at that time in my life. And now, here I am, following my passion, as you say, and (hopefully) making a difference in my community and my region."  (in Colorado)

  • Nancy

    “The course helped me feel like there was a more extensive community of support, and it remotivated me to try to make new changes.”

  • Sarah

    “I feel like I was enraptured for the whole of the three weeks. The coverage of this class was so holistic, alarming and hopeful. It's so powerful to sit in a room of people with the common goals of changing this poisonous system we have.”

  • Tom

    "One of the things I liked best about this class was the sense of empowerment I came away with. I really can make a difference!"

  • Chanda

    “I’m a single-income person with a disabled spouse & a teenager. Money is always an issue. At first I kept thinking, ‘Yeah, but green typically costs more.’ By the last day, I was hit with, ‘Yeah…look at how much I waste.’”

  • Laura

    “I pledge to think more about the stuff that I buy – how it’s packaged, where did it come from, where will it go, etc. – so that I can really minimize my household’s waste.”

  • Kelsey

    “I loved how accessible everything felt. I actually think I can do this. Living with less waste is not an extreme or radical thing to do… it doesn’t seem that hard. Tons of people are already doing it. Learning how to recycle common household stuff was so practical, it has really helped in my home…”