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Strong community recycling programs can contribute to a healthy, united community. Such programs—led with support and guidance from local government agencies—have been known to support local economies, encourage sustainable growth and improve the water and air qualities of the communities that implement them.In fact, did you know…

  • It costs more than $1.5 billion each year to dispose of garbage across Canada.
  • Unlike the waste management industry, recycling adds value to materials, contributing to a growing labour force including materials sorters, dispatchers, truck drivers, brokers, sales representatives, process engineers and chemists.
  • The average North American will throw away 600 times his adult weight in garbage over his lifetime.
  • Plastic products contribute 7% by weight and 30% by volume to municipal solid waste.
  • About 38% of Canada’s total methane emissions come from landfill sites.
  • Dumping 10,000 tons of waste in a landfill creates six jobs, while recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs.

Local recycling programs are valuable, but it’s no secret they’ve been slashed from the budgets of many communities. Rally support from constituents and communicate the value and cost savings these programs—when executed efficiently—can provide.

Here are a few ideas to get started building buzz:

  • Make it easy to understand—develop communication materials, like direct mail pieces, flyers, web pages, and more that break it down for residents. What is the program, how does it work, what are residents expected to do and when, are residents required to participate, is there a cost associated with participation? Make it clear!
  • Canvass neighbourhoods to leave behind recycled tote bags filled with information on local recycling programs, the benefit these programs offer to the community and the environment, and who they can contact for more information.
  • Stationing volunteers in high-traffic areas to distribute flyers and memorable takeaway items like calendar magnets or beverage can-shaped magnets outlining recycle collection days to build awareness.
  • Utilize your city’s website or social media channels to promote the program. Create videos showing residents where their recycling goes, create a blog with tips on recycling and reducing waste, and get the recycling crew on Twitter® to send updates from a new perspective. Encourage engagement by giving away T-shirts to residents sharing links and spreading the word. The possibilities are endless!
  • Join forces with local businesses to get them on board with recycling programs and to encourage their employees to do the same. Make it easy by donating recycled Post-it Notes for their offices.

“Waste Reduction and Recycling Facts.” Waste Free Lunch. Web. 03 May 2011

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