How do you currently communicate with residents about waste and recycling? Whether you send out a monthly newsletter, put ads in the local paper, or simply try to keep everything as simple as possible, your residents are getting messages from you somehow. Whether the message says “recycling is important and we’re here to help you” or “do what you can, but you’re on your own” is up to you.

When I worked for a municipality, I was working on implementing new collection changes to reach our waste diversion target. It was important that our residents not only understood the collection schedule changes, but also how to properly dispose of items that did not belong in the garbage cart. We knew that we needed to share this information in as many ways as possible, allowing residents to access this information easily, right from the palms of their hands.

Software is not the answer to every recycling problem. But it does help with mass communications. If you want to reduce contamination, increase recycling rates, or reduce call volumes to the city about recycling issues, software is your friend. It doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to be costly. This guide takes you through everything you need to know about recycling communications software.

Personalized Communications for Residents

Today, over 88% of the United States population can access the Internet at home. Ten years before, this number was only 68.9% [1]. This increase of nearly 30% in just a decade has changed the expectations of residents. No longer do they wait to see an advertisement in the paper. They expect information when they request it – not when it’s advertised.

Everyday, residents get information about all kinds of things. In the onslaught of news articles, television programs, push notifications, text messages, and, let’s be honest, family members, it’s hard to make your message stand out in the noise. There is a secret, however. You can get residents to pay attention to recycling guidelines using this trick…

Be there for your residents when they need you

There are very few times in the week when everyday residents are thinking about recycling. These times, it is crucial to be there with clear information: it is the only time that you have residents’ attention.

This is why software, all of a sudden, is incredibly important. Software does two things very well:

  1. communicates information to residents only when they need it
  2. personalizes communications to the time and manner each individual resident requires

Even though collection days are the same for many residents, each resident has their own life schedule. If a resident has signed up for reminders about their collection day, they have also chosen when to receive them and how they want to see or hear them.

Let Residents Help Themselves to Information

Residents call municipalities for all kinds of things. Answering those phone calls takes up precious time and distracts staff from other activities. We speak to a lot of folks who are cutting costs in their department by cutting down phone call volumes.

Phone calls are expensive because of two things:

  1. It takes time for people to manage and respond to calls
  2. It takes a lot of resources to train employees do the work effectively

Getting people simple information they need does a lot for reducing calls about their waste and recycling services. But if people do call in, is it possible to decrease the cost on time and training, too? That answer is a resounding yes. Call centres love it when their employees can find the answer to resident challenges quickly and easily. This reduces call times and training times.

Is Recycling Communications Software for You?

There are a few reasons you might be considering communications software for your residents. You might have a change in collection scheduling coming up, or need to reduce contamination in waste streams. Whatever your need, we encourage you to identify it. This helps with measuring success, providing feedback to the vendor, and ultimately, accomplishing your goal.

Software is not about spending more time behind the keyboard. It’s entirely about giving you more time so that you can get out into the community. For more information about identifying exactly what you want to accomplish with recycling communications software, check out how to reduce waste and contamination with technology.