Posted by Bill Selzer on Sep 25, 2023
Nicci Sternitsky and Deb Baesemann are members of the Elm Grove Sustainability Committee and Green Team. They shared their mission of preserving resources for future generations with the Elmbrook Rotary. In their presentation, they shared their vision and traction in assisting residents, businesses, and government in embracing best practices for sustainable living, business growth, and development.
How can the village residents and businesses reduce the 1,700 tons of trash/garbage collected each year through recycling and other sustainable means?

To understand the...

type and quantity of items that end up in the trash, the Green Team conducted a trash audit at John’s Disposal in April, 2023. The twelve Team members sorted through 1,300 pounds of garbage separating it into nine groups by weight and percentages. The objectives were “to improve recycling efficiency, decrease solid waste ending up in the landfill, and ultimately, save the community money by reducing landfill fees and improving recycling accuracy”.
  • Trash - 686 lbs. – 51.2%
  • Recyclables - 270 lbs. – 20.1%
  • Food waste - 240 lbs. – 17.9%
  • Plastic bags – all types – 51.6 lbs. – 3.9%
  • Clothing – 44.9 lbs. – 3.4%
  • Yard waste – 32.1 lbs. – 2.4%
  • Home delivery packaging – 11.8 lbs. - .09%
  • Styrofoam – 3.6 lbs. - .03%
  • Batteries – 3.5% - .03%
What can we do to help reduce the amount of trash going into landfills?
  • Recycle and follow suggested guidelines.
  • Compost appropriate food items or consider a compost service.
  • Use your own bags for bagging at the grocery store.
  • Reduce the number of items purchased in plastic containers.
Items to recycle:
  • Cans: aluminum, tin, steel, and aerosol cans. Please empty and rinse.
  • Cartons: food and beverage cartons. Please empty and replace the cap. Milk cartons and juices boxes.
  • Glass: bottles and jars. Please empty and rinse.
  • Paper: Cereal and shoe boxes, newspaper, magazines, mail and flatten cardboard and paper tubes. Brown paper bags, and shredded paper placed in clear plastic bags.
  • Plastic: bottles and containers numbered 1,2, and 5. Please empty and replace cap. Plastics can only be recycled 2-3 times before it then must go to the landfill.
Please do not recycle:
  • Scrap metal: no car parts or scrap metal.
  • Plastic bags: do not bag recyclables; return plastic bags and wrap to retail stores.
  • Hazards: no flammables, compressed cylinders, batteries, electronics, or sharps.
  • Garbage: Empty all containers, no food, liquids, diapers, or garbage.
  • Tanglers: no hoses, wires, or chains.
  • Construction items.
  • Styrofoam, yard waste and clothing.
Batteries: rechargeable batteries should never go into the trash or recycling containers. Single use alkaline batteries can be placed in the trash. For more information visit:
To learn more about Elm Grove’s mission and vision on sustainability, visit and search for sustainability.
Thank you Nicci and Deb for sharing the Elm Grove Green Team’s initiative for sustainability.