Since our beginning, Food Loops has prided ourselves in thinking no sustainability job was too big. In fact, we often tell our fans the fastest path to higher diversion rates starts with focusing on the biggest, messiest problems. Big or small jobs, food waste will always be our signature element, but we’ve learned that the big, messy problems have many more facets to consider. Glass, cardboard, and mixed recycling have all been on our menu for a while. More recently however, we began adding wood, metal, and even big patches of astro turf to the diversion mix.
To be sure, these leaps have involved a fair amount of failure, most of which have come in not being able to accurately gauge the amount of a particular stream. This is also common for our clients as was evident recently when we added a small customer who felt their newly placed containers would take them 90 days to fill. Imagine their surprise when those containers were full in just two weeks. Such is waste.
Nicole, my Strategic Coach, advises me to look at our progress not in terms of losing, but rather as winning and/or learning. When we get it right we win! When we get it wrong, we don’t fail, instead, we learn valuable information about a customer, a waste stream, or an event type.
In almost five years of doing this, our team has all been in situations we never want to be in again. We’ve experienced some crazy circumstances where our failures looked a lot like the waste train was about to run us over. When that happens, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and consider ourselves much smarter for the next round. This rite of passage has not only helped make us a leader in the waste collection industry, but always ready for the next big, messy challenge.
"The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure." ― John C. Maxwell