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Update your Recycling Education Library

While there is no magic formula for successfully educating your community residents about recycling, there are many books that can serve as great resources. The three books below provide useful information:

  •  The Art of Cause Marketing: How to Use Advertising to Change Personal Behavior and Public Policy by Richard Earle – If you’ve had trouble convincing residents to start recycling, this book examines how to effectively strategize and develop a campaign that seeks to change strongly ingrained behavior or firmly held beliefs. The Art of Cause Marketing presents several case studies and 75 storyboards from actual campaigns.
  •  Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing by Doug McKenzie-Mohr - While conventional marketing can help create public awareness, social marketing identifies and overcomes obstacles to long-lasting behavior change. This ground-breaking book is an invaluable guide for anyone involved in designing public education programs with the goal of promoting sustainable behavior.
  • Social Marketing to Protect the Environment: What Works  by Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Nancy R. Lee, Paul Wesley Schultz and Phillip A. Kotler- This book details how to use community-based social marketing to motivate environmental protection behaviors. With case studies of programs from around the world, the authors present a clear process for motivating social change for both residential and commercial audiences and illustrate how community-based social marketing can be harnessed to foster more sustainable communities.
Check back soon for the next update of recycling education books!
We want to hear from you…What book have you found essential for planning your recycling education outreach? Comment below or e-mail us at

Boost Education with Technology

We recently conducted a survey to look at how technology is impacting the way recycling coordinators communicate with residents. The results overwhelmingly concluded what most of us assume: technology has quickly changed the way we communicate with residents. Websites and social media are the go-to place to get information, and CVP wants to help make sure your program is as tech-friendly as possible. Here are some quick tips:

1.       Use social media as a two-way communication tool. More than 71 percent of survey respondents said they were using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with residents. While these sites are great for pushing out information about your program, they should also be used to listen to your residents.  If your residents are posting comments and questions but never hearing back, your silence is sending the message that you’re not listening and your online efforts lose some credibility. Check at least once a week for comments and respond accordingly (more often is even better). Also, things like re-tweeting or “liking” resident comments can help send the message you are listening and active.
2.       Update your website. Our survey showed that98 percent of respondents have a website, which is great news. But if your site isn’t updated regularly, you are doing a disservice to your residents. Your site should always have the most updated information, such as an accurate list of what is and is not recyclable, and serve as a one-stop spot for everything about curbside recycling. Accepted items, collection schedules and information on requesting a recycling container should all be easily found on your site. If your recycling program page is housed within a larger solid waste or municipal website, streamline information in one area so it is easy to quickly find.  
3.       Create a recycling app. Smart phones have become a popular way for people to receive information. Make information about your recycling program easily accessible by creating a recycling app. Programs such as My Waste can create a customized app for your recycling program that will provide residents with answers to all recycling questions immediately. Check out iRecycle through Earth 911 for some great ideas.

While technology is a key way to reach residents, remember to balance how you use it with traditional tactics. Our survey found that traditional tactics such as PSAs, advertisements, direct mailers and community events are still popular venues for reaching residents. Utilizing a variety of tactics will help expand your reach.  

We want to hear from you…What have you done to make your recycling program tech-friendly for residents? Comment below or email us at


“Oldies but goodies:” Communications tactics that still work today

While technology and social media have forever changed the media landscape and thus the way we communicate, there are some basic principles that will never go out of style.

Here are three basic tactics that stand the test of time and remain valuable and effective tools for recycling education campaigns:
1.       Make a personal connection. In other words, don’t hide behind the computer.Before the Internet age, communications relied heavily on face-to-face connections. Email and social media are now the predominant forms of communication, which means fewer interactions are happening in person. While this can definitely save time and help people connect across various geographic regions, sending an email or tweeting residents should never replace the real connection that is formed with peer-to-peer outreach. Relationship building is still one of the most important aspects of communications and should not be pushed to the side in the quest to stay on the cutting edge with newer forms of communication.
2.       Utilize PSAs. Whether this is your first PSA or your 100th, public service announcements can be a cost-effective way to increase awareness of your recycling program. Be creative but succinct when developing your message and avoid industry jargon (MRF, commodity, “single stream,” etc.) that may be confusing to the average resident. Include a direct call-to-action for residents that is in line with your overall campaign messaging, as well as a website or phone number where they can learn more information. Also, keep in mind that a PSA can be print, radio, TV or online so the options are quite limitless.
3.       Issue a media advisory. A media advisory is an alert that lets the press know of an event or occurrence that will be taking place, and they often include information about photo and/or video opportunities. With more and more media outlets being understaffed, they often welcome any type of assistance you can provide such as providing an easy photo opportunity and/or a place where they can interview multiple sources as once. The less work they have to do, and the more concrete your message is, the more likely you are to get them to cover your story. Plan to distribute media advisories approximately one week prior to an event and follow up accordingly to gauge potential attendance and interest from media. Sometimes media may not be able to attend, but are interested in receiving a photo and caption from the event to run in their outlet.  
We want to hear from you … what “old school” tactics have you found to be successful in your community? Comment below or email us at

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