Last Update: 09/04/2014

AROW 2014 Recycling Award Winners

Please join us in congratulating our 2014 award winners! Click here to view the recent press release.

Christy Dixon Recycler of the Year:
Meribeth Sullivan, Waukesha County Solid Waste Department

Meribeth Sullivan wins Christy Dixon awardThe Christy Dixon Recycler of the Year award - a recognition given to an individual whose career demonstrates the highest professional standards. Meribeth Sullivan, Recycing Specialist, Waukesha County Solid Waste Department (Waukesha, WI), received the Christy Dixon Recycler of the Year award.

Meribeth Sullivan has held the position of Waukesha County Recycling Specialist for nearly 15 years and has been a great asset to businesses and citizens of Waukesha County, southeast Wisconsin, and the state. She initiated and coordinated new partnerships with local Chambers of Commerce, school districts, teachers, and student groups to increase understanding of waste reduction and recycling opportunities. Meribeth's recycling vision has always been based on collaboration and cooperation with groups, businesses, schools and citizens to achieve the highest rate of waste reduction, beneficial reuse and recycling possible.

A few of her key projects include:

  • Chaired the education committee of the Southeast Wisconsin Waste Reduction Coalition working with schools in Waukesha and Milwaukee to improve their recycling programs.
  • Coordinated a workshop on proper storage of chemicals and a chemical cleanout for high schools in the county.
  • Coordinated an organics committee workshop that showcased the county project using compost to restore vegetation to an old gravel pit.
  • As Co-chair of the AROW Education Committee since its inception, she coordinated and presented workshops for teachers and responsible units on ways to partner on recycling education and on using the Recycle More Wisconsin website as an education tool.
  • Developed and promoted a toolkit and tips for schools to begin milk carton recycling in cooperation with the Carton Council and haulers.
  • Coordinated compost bin sales for the Coalition and county and conducted numerous workshops on how to home compost.
  • Developed and promoted Waukesha County Green Schools program that provides grants to schools to increase recycling to complement the state Green Schools program.

Meribeth embodies the values that Christy Dixon held. She has the same strong character and work ethic, practicality, honesty, and respect for the environment and for people.

(Pictured above left to right: Meleesa Johnson, Meribeth Sullivan)

Outstanding Achievement in Education
Tracy Romzek,
Waste Reduction Advisor, 4R Ventures, LLC

Tracy Romzek Receives Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Education awardThe Outstanding Achievement in Education Award is presented to a group or individual that has excelled in environmental education, specifically related to solid waste and recycling. This year's recipient is Tracy Romzek, Waste Reduction Advisor in the Neenah School District and Tri- County Area.

Tracy's recycling vision is helping schools and businesses truly understand their waste and its impacts so they can develop and own better methods to support sustainability and strive for zero waste. With her efforts in researching carton recycling in the Tri-County area, Tracy helped the Neenah School District to implement carton recycling in school cafeterias. Her efforts were realized by the Tri County MRF, who then implemented a pilot carton recycling program. After retrofitting the sorting lines at the Tri-County MRF cartons will be permanently added to the recycling stream.

Two years ago Tracy decided to make it easier for people to recycle Christmas Lights in the Fox Valley. Last year she collected 2,200 lbs of Christmas Lights for recycling with the proceeds going to the Salvation Army. This year she enlisted the help of two elementary school PTOs to assist with the collection of lights and to receive the proceeds. With more people to help, she set a goal to collect twice as many lights.She collected 2,200 lbs of Christmas Lights for recycling last year and doubled that amount this year.

Tracy is very passionate about finding a way to bring organics recycling to schools. She has assisted two schools set up their cafeteria to make organics collection and recycling possible. Her newest endeavor is to bring car seat recycling to the Fox Valley. She has an interested party that would disassemble the seats and store them until a desired quantity is obtained. She is now working on finding a recycler.

(Pictured above left to right: Meleesa Johnson, Tracy Romzek)


Outstanding Achievement in Recycling - Public Sector:
Mike Voltz – Polk County Solid Waste Foreman

Mike Voltz receives Outstanding Achievement in RecyclingAROW's Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Award is given to an individual or a group that has excelled in their recycling program. This year's recipient is Mike Voltz, Polk County Solid Waste Foreman.

Mike Voltz has shown outstanding support and efforts for recycling in the 25 years he has worked as foreman for Polk County Recycling Center. Mike's initiative to outreach to our community, schools, and vendors by giving presentations have impacted recycling awareness. This initiative has increased the volume in recyclable material brought into the recycling center. Every year Mike outreaches to vendors and advertisers, and prepares the recycling center for an annual Earth Day event held for 700 residence and school children who then tour the recycling center and view earth friendly demonstrations. Mike is constantly looking for markets and checking prices for our recycling commodities. Because of his due diligence with markets we are able to keep our recycling program with a positive balance.

Mike's vision is to meet the recycling needs of Polk County residents that incorporate waste reduction and material reuse which is technically and economically feasible. To promote this vision Mike continues to work hard to manage the recycling center, commodities, and several recycling bins located throughout Polk County. Recently Mike conducted a SWOT analysis for our Recycling program to determine our weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities. From the SWOT he determined ways to increase our recycling tonnage and look at ways to improve our education and outreach by increasing our recycling bins and advertising.

Mike has exceeded several of his recycling goals one of which was by starting an event recycling program where portable containers are now available to the public at no fee. Mike also implemented our waste oil program and installed a waste oil furnace at the recycling center. He then started a paint exchange program for residence to be able to drop off unwanted paint. Mike started accepting E-waste well before it was law. He also started a cell phone program, vinyl siding program, used cooking oil program, clothing and textile program, anti freeze program, and confidential shredding program at the recycling center. Most recently Mike has been able to lower the garbage bill for the recycling center by finding a market that will take plastics 3 through 7and take them out of the waste stream.

Details of some of these programs can be found on the website that Mike helps to maintain at
Mike works cooperatively to partner with our 4 County Region recycling managers (Pepin, Dunn, Peirce, and St. Croix) to get ideas and best markets. Also, these counties work together to determine dates and ideas for the Clean Sweep event to better promote and collect hazardous waste. Mike has also worked with the highway commissioner to use our scrap glass for road filler. At the recycling center Mike enjoys working with the 5 Adult handicap clients from our adult resource center. To show appreciation Mike has taken all of them on a pontoon ride of the St. Croix River with a picnic along the way. He even let them drive his pontoon. I know this may not be important to recycling but it does show his compassion for his employees at the recycling center.

(Pictured above left to right: Meleesa Johnson, Mike Voltz)


Outstanding Achievement in Recycling-Private Sector:
Wausau Tile, Inc.

Wausau Tile receives Outstanding Achievement in Recycling AwardAROW's Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Award is given to an individual or a group that has excelled in their recycling program. This year's recipient is Wausau Tile, Inc.

Wausau Tile recognizes that being "green" is not only good for the environment, but is also good for its bottom line. Over the course of the past several years it has introduced a wide variety of processes and activities that are environmentally friendly in both facility operations and in the manufacturing process. Wausau Tile believes it can meet the highest standards of quality, while continuing to be a leader in conserving, recycling and reusing precious materials and resources.

In 2012 Wausau Tile began a new line of products called EcoPremier. This line of products contains recycled porcelain and replaces virgin aggregate. With 43% recycled content, by weight, the EcoPremier line used over 1.3 million pounds of recycled porcelain seconds. Additionally, Wausau Tile is always looking at finding ways to use materials that might otherwise end up in landfills. Annually, Wausau Tile uses over a million pounds of recycled glass aggregate in many of its products (up to 56% recycled glass content by weight), reduces the amount of cement needed in production by using fly ash, utilizes foundry slag as an aggregate and finds novels ways to use recycled steel in its broad line of outdoor products.

In 2012 (most recent information publicly available), Wausau Tile avoided sending nearly 14,000 tons of materials to landfills by:

  • Recycling 59,489 pounds of plastic banding, cardboard, paper and aluminum
  • Recycling 135,760 pounds of scrap steel and banding
  • Recycling 13,936 pounds of excess packaging foam
  • Recycling 142,768 pounds wood and wood pallets
  • Recycling 27,538,613 pounds of concrete waste
  • Recycling 32,295 pounds of plastic
  • And, recycling 71,480,876 gallons of water (with a state of the art water recycling system, on average Wausau Tile uses a gallon of water 8 times)

Wausau Tile is proud of their recycling and waste reduction program. They keep close monthly tally on each pound of material managed through their system, continually exploring new ways to use seeming waste products. They engage their staff in examining systems and embrace novel ideas developed throughout their company.

(Pictured above left to right: Meleesa Johnson, Tom Hale)