Why the TRC Partnership Works for Everyone

Why the TRC Partnership Works for Everyone

Posted June 22, 2021

Did you ever have a task you thought would be simple, and then ‎once you began, you realized you had seriously misjudged the ‎complexity? Sometimes even seemingly simple tasks require many ‎hands.‎

On the surface, our focus is to advance a singular goal: the ‎collection of mercury-containing thermostats. As an objective, it’s ‎hard to get more concrete.‎

It wouldn’t surprise me if many of our partners — government ‎officials, HVAC wholesalers, contractors and recycling centers —‎think our daily activities are straightforward and uncomplicated. All ‎we “do” is recycle thermostats. However, our goal’s singularity ‎makes it easier for people to judge us because there’s no room for ‎misinterpretation. ‎

Yet, it might surprise some that we, too, have a juggling act at times ‎to fulfill our mission.‎

For example, we’re in the 48 contiguous states. That means we have ‎‎48 different rules, laws, mandates or unwritten practices with which ‎to contend, and not one is identical. Yes, many follow general ‎principles, but enough variance exists to keep us on our toes, and ‎in some states, we find ourselves hopping frequently. The state’s ‎physical size, population, number of outlets for collection, approach ‎to thermostats — mandates versus volunteerism — and ‎‎”assertiveness” on the part of officials can require a range of ‎demands on our responses. Allow me to put it gently and accurately ‎at the same time: Some states require more “handholding” than ‎others. It’s like having a class schedule with numerous teachers: ‎some easy, a few middle of the road, and a couple more challenging. ‎

If this sounds like an overwhelming task, I can comfortably say it ‎isn’t. But it occasionally presents challenges as we try to clarify the ‎relationship with a partner, including the agreement on each one’s ‎responsibility. This includes clarifying our position and pointing out ‎gently that the partner also has specific responsibilities to the ‎program. ‎

Now is the time to focus on the word “partner,” a term or its plural, ‎partners, that I frequently use in my blogs. It is not an accident. ‎There is no TRC, or more accurately, there is no effective TRC ‎without our partners along the recycling chain that we began more ‎than 20 years ago.‎

An open mind, a willingness to be flexible and compromise, and ‎understanding the other person’s viewpoint can work wonders ‎when it comes to arriving at a suitable solution for all.‎

I have said it in the past, I will say it now, and I’m sure to repeat it ‎in the future: If you have questions, need help, or wish to share an ‎idea, we will listen carefully. No idea is a bad idea, and every ‎misunderstanding or disagreement requires special attention. And ‎we will ensure that you get it from us.‎

What I love about this partnership is that I can prove it works. ‎Because of our successful partnership, we’ve collected more than ‎‎2.7 million thermostats and recycled more than 12 tons of mercury. ‎

You know the saying; it takes a village. So let’s keep the partnership ‎vital, effective and ongoing.‎

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