Friday, November 15, 2019

It's America Recycles Day!

Free multimedia toolkit helps cities, counties, and schools reduce contamination in recycled material

Happy America Recycles Day! Today is your opportunity to recommit to reducing, reusing, recycling, and purchasing products made from recycled material. It's important to recycle, despite current challenges. Our Nov. 12 blog provided useful tips and resources to help you do it. But did you know that The Department of Ecology has a contamination reduction resource available for cities, counties, and schools that is proven effective at reaching Washington residents?

The Recycle Right Partner Toolkit is an easy and free way for cities, towns, and counties across Washington to help their residents clean up the recycled material they collect. The toolkit contains a variety of drag-and-drop multimedia resources in both English and Spanish that will kick start a contamination reduction outreach program or supplement existing material in order to take advantage of the popular statewide Recycle Right education campaign.

This past June, Ecology’s Recycle Right statewide education campaign reached Washington residents more than 32 million times with universal messages about the importance of household recycling being empty, clean and dry. This is a fact no matter what is accepted into your local system. The campaign’s success led us to develop a toolkit that will help our local partner agencies reduce contamination at the first step in the recycling process: when residents put materials into their recycling bin.

The toolkit is an assembly of short radio spots and videos, printed documents, and web banners. And there are Spanish versions of nearly everything. It is available for download only at Ecology's Partner Toolkit webpage. Easy-to-follow instructions direct visitors to a page where they can download the entire toolkit or just the material they need.

“A clean recycling stream is a sustainable recycling stream,” says Ecology’s Solid Waste Management program Manager Laurie Davies. “Educating our residents is proven to be the fastest and easiest way to reduce contamination in our recycled material.”

Cleaning up the state’s recycling stream has taken on new urgency as we implement our response to China’s crackdown on recycling contamination. Because more than 60 percent of Washington’s recycled material was shipped to China, the effects of this recycling crisis were felt especially hard here.

The Recycle Right campaign was created to educate Washington residents about the basics of recycling, focusing on reducing contamination and increasing the quality of materials in the state’s recycling stream. Over the course of three weeks, Washington residents experienced television and radio ads, and digital videos across a variety of platforms, and in both Spanish and English languages.
An example of a Spanish language web banner available in the Recycle Right partner toolkit.

An example of a English language web banner available in the Recycle Right partner toolkit.
Many Recycle Right partner toolkit materials are provided
in both English and Spanish languages, including these
web banners.
The campaign was very effective, focusing on television and radio audiences, as well as digital advertising on a variety of platforms like Facebook and Pandora. There was even a Recycle Right billboard in Tacoma. In addition to the 32 million views; 26,000 people clicked through to the Recycle Right website for more information. And the more than 500 comments we received on social media sparked impressive conversations about recycling.

View all the Recycle Right campaign videos at Ecology's YouTube channel.

Ecology is offering the Recycle Right Toolkit to our municipal and county partners, and now schools and other organizations, to supplement and streamline their growing efforts to educate Washington residents about the value of maintaining a clean recycling stream. Toolkit materials are plucked directly from the Recycle Right campaign and formatted for easy use. Some of the tools can be customized so that Ecology partners can make them work for their unique needs.

The toolkit was developed by C+C, the same company that developed our Recycle Right education campaign. And while it is intended to meet the needs of Ecology’s partners, the agency will make it available to other organizations, associations and schools, or individuals who believe it would be useful to their recycling contamination reduction efforts.

By Dave Bennett, Solid Waste Management

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