Communication & Recycling Programs
How do you communicate about your recycling program?
Communication is more than just a graphic on a recycling station.
Once the culture has been established around the recycling program, it needs to be communicated. Some organizations are fortunate to have a Green Team that takes on this responsibility, others need to ensure they put the proper steps in place to make it happen. Senior management has set the expectations of recycling program participation by all employees and they need to have these expectations, as well as the goals of the program, communicated to all. As mentioned in our article on recycling culture, the program needs realistic and achievable goals. Consistency and transparency will garner buy-in from employees. When they see the real successes and “wins” on the path to the final goal, they are more apt to participate fully.
Prior to kicking off your recycling program, metrics and proper reporting need to be set and adhered to. This will enable transparency of the program and will gain more support from participants. Metrics will also allow the organization to accurately track the progress and success of the program.
The elements of successful recycling program communication
The message that your organization’s recycling equipment conveys is critical. Are the units approachable? Are they clearly labeled so that participants know what to do to ensure collection stream accuracy? You have 2-3 seconds to convince a participant to make the right choice of disposal. Graphics are very important in a recycling program. Simple symbols or plain text is a less effective method of labeling compared to a combination of text and a cluster of images.
Fresh and relevant updates to the recycling program's progress will also get employee buy-in. Participants want to know if they are making a difference, if they are helping the organization achieve their goals. Communicating new diversion rates or additional acceptable items in streams keep the program top of mind for employees. This communication can be done in a number of different ways: emails, posters on the recycling stations, posters on the walls, postings on employee intranet sites, company meetings, etc.
Sharing best practices is a way to grow the program and educate the participants. Knowing and applying other people’s wins will enable the organization to keep expanding and growing their program.
Learn about the third C of Collection in our 3C’s Approach to Zero Waste.