- Casella Waste Systems has made vast efforts in educational outreach for children and young adults through facility tours and scholarships, especially in Ontario County, NY.
- Recently, Casella Regional Engineer Jerry Leone offered a tour to second graders from Victor Primary School in New York, who thanked Leone in a letter dubbing the experience as "enlightening" and "eye-opening." Another student who participated in a tour with New York's Marcus Whitman Central School wrote a note to Leone following the experience which read, "I told my dad some of your advice, and that [advice] was: the three R's, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle."
- Leone is just one of the Casella employees across the Northeast who assists in tours for students from first grade to college-age, allowing them to learn about diversion, recycling, and landfills. Leone told Waste Dive that such field trips are perfect for students — especially in elementary school — due to the "bright colors and moving parts" of the waste industry. The tours are free for the schools.
"We can't do enough," said Leone to Waste Dive, striking a sentiment that many industry leaders feel across the board: education for students and consumers about the industry is desperately needed.
The primary reason for this is many see waste as an "invisible industry," with garbage haulers magically allowing for the trash to "disappear" on garbage day. However, by exposing the daily operations of the waste industry to non-industry people — especially at a young age — Casella (and other companies that offer tours) is allowing curiosity to flourish and building a sense of place and purpose for the industry within society.
"Providing this opportunity for our students to learn is solid evidence of Casella's contributive role as a community partner. Please know that you have helped shaped the daily practices that our kids will follow both at home and in their workplace today and in years to come," said officials of Marcus Whitman Central School in a letter to Leone.
Additionally, Casella has offered scholarships to college-aged students who are interested in pursuing engineering, agriculture, and environmental studies as a way to get them interested in the waste industry. By piquing such interest, the company is helping to recruit millennials and fill a concerning demographical age gap that the industry will inevitably need to resolve in the coming years.