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7.02 Lean Back & Relax: A New Approach to Managing Solid Waste

Thursday, April 4, 2013
8:00 AM-9:00 AM
Track: Sustainability/ Environmental Stewardship
Format: Case Study
Knowledge Level: 300 level
Session Description: This session will present a powerful new approach to tackling the management of solid waste.  The University of Pennsylvania has embarked on an innovative approach to develop a Solid Waste Management Plan by applying proven Lean process improvement techniques.  Staff ranging from housekeepers to institutional leaders actively participated in this process to examine resources, processes, workflows, student behaviors and current obstacles in managing solid waste on campus.

The audience will hear directly from the University of Pennsylvania on the unique aspects of the process, the lessons learned, implementation strategies and results of using this strategic planning approach. In addition, just as the University of Pennsylvania underwent a “learning by doing” process, the audience will get a chance to try a couple of Lean techniques that the university used to experience engaging with peers in tackling a common challenge.

By using a facilitated, Lean approach, different groups of employees were actively engaged in a process to make the right decisions and see how they contributed positively to the effective management of multiple waste streams on campus. This approach is one step toward creating a comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan in support of the Presidents' Climate Commitment goals.  Using Lean has allowed the stakeholders to increase value and reduce waste throughout the system.  The end result will be a Solid Waste Management Plan that everyone feels “ownership” for and can implement going forward.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand the basics of lean.
  • Understand how a lean approach can apply to solid waste. management.
  • Learn how to work with diverse, decentralized stakeholders to solve a university-wide challenge.
  • Discover common, hidden wastes and obstacles within typical solid waste management systems.
  •     Conference Proceedings



    Meredith Gethin-Jones
    Haley & Aldrich
    Lean Practitioner / Client Specialist
    Lean Consulting Services

    Meredith is a Client Specialist and Lean Practitioner at Haley & Aldrich. She has more than 10 years of experience working with diverse stakeholder groups. Her expertise is in sustainability strategy, systems thinking, training & development, and process improvement. Meredith helps internal and external clients learn and apply Lean principles and tools for knowledge-based processes that result in increased value, reduced waste and cost, and an enhanced ability for clients to work effectively in cross-functional teams. She has managed projects across a variety of industries in the United States and Canada. She helps clients with sustainability programs, report writing, product development, education system design and program management. Meredith has facilitated teams from a variety of organizations including the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, University of New Hampshire, University of Delaware, Cornell University, Society for College and University Planning and CleanMed.

    Gerry McGillian, P.E. in the state of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania
    Director of Facility Trades
    Facilities and Real Estate Services

    Gerry McGilian is a registered professional engineer and has worked in utility and facility maintenance and operations for more than 20 years. He has been the Director of Facility Trades at Penn since 2005. He directs the operation of the utility trades, construction trades, groundskeepers and hard surface trades, which includes the trash removal and recycling group. Gerry was instrumental in developing the Solid Waste Management Plan including selecting the consultant, identifying the team and managing the project.