CVP Blog - September 2009

Cost Effective Education Strategies: Part One

We recently asked three professionals in the recycling world to share with us their most cost-effective strategies for education. We asked:

Kathryn Brown, Waste Reduction Specialist, Solid Waste Management Department, Hillsborough County, FL

Kelley Dennings, Education and Outreach Project Manager, North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance

Linda Leighton, Waste Reduction Specialist, City of Raleigh, NC

Here's what they said:
Q: Describe some of the recent education/outreach strategies you have used in the past or plan to use in the future?

Kathryn Brown
: In the past, Hillsborough County’s education and outreach efforts have focused primarily on: distribution of an annual or bi-annual recycling newsletter to all residents by mail; development of an educational tabloid that is distributed in the Sunday edition of the local newspaper on an annual basis; presentations to school and community groups; and attending local community events to distribute program literature and promotional items related to our programs.

Over the next few months, we will be launching several new education and outreach methods through our partnership with CVP. The outreach methods include: billboards, transit advertisements, cinema advertisements, radio spots, an online contest and more. All of these will be designed to drive traffic to a new recycling website - We are very excited about this unique opportunity, and we look forward to evaluating the results we get from this kind of coordinated multi-media strategy.

Kelley Dennings: used outreach events as an education strategy during the summer. We staffed a booth at a month-long basketball tournament (high school, college and pro players are involved) that was free and open to the public. The college just started recycling this year and wanted to draw attention to its program. We gave out recycling brochures, free temporary tattoos for the kids and bottle openers for the adults. Everyone had to complete a recycling survey before receiving a promotional item.

As of Oct. 1, 2009, plastic bottles will be banned from landfill disposal, so we are recruiting a “street team” composed of college students to get the word out through guerilla marketing strategies. The street team will be involved in our BANneD music tour. To get the word out, we are partnering with local music venues throughout N.C. to have a recycling presence, staff a recycling booth and have the bands mention recycling throughout the show. 

Linda Leighton: It feels like we’ve tried them all! We’ve used our local government Community Channel to post videos; paid TV commercial spots; we’ve used outdoor ads like billboards, truck sides; door hangers and magnets with useful information for residents; fliers and other direct mail pieces; online avenues through social media, our Web site and e-mail blasts to residents; radio spots; PSA’s; community events, bin drives, MRF tours and incentive programs; and all our ads are now bi-lingual. 

We have been awarded a grant to launch an incentive program city-wide in the fall, so we are eager to see how that will affect participation.

Stay tuned for part two!

We want to hear from you. What cost-effective outreach/education strategies have you used or plan to use in the future?

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