Having worked for a handful of solid waste teams at the city level, I remember that at the beginning of each day my goal was to ensure people correctly used the solid waste and recycling services provided to them – whether this be placing the correct items in the recycling bin or setting out the right carts on the right day.
Now, as a Customer Success Manager, not much has changed. At the beginning of each day my goal is to ensure that people – you, the Recycling Coordinator let’s say – utilize and embrace the full capabilities of your tools, to help you be successful and achieve your goals.
I want to share some fantastic use cases that made communication easy, took a minimal amount of work by the Coordinator, and had a huge impact on call reduction, missed collection reduction and reduced contamination to name a few.
Working closely with our network of hundreds of customers – as well as the first hand experience that myself and other ReCollect staff have from working in the industry – we have built a core understanding of the day-to-day challenges and goals that Recycling Coordinators face.
I’ve outlined half a dozen below that I hear time and time again:
○ Educate recyclers to correctly use their solid waste and recycling services.
○ Increase diversion through proper recycling and lowering contamination.
○ Increase participation in both regular curbside collection and irregular services such as drop-off events.
○ Reduce inquiries via calls and emails from end users about how to use their solid waste and recycling services.
○ Operational efficiency through enabling self service and reducing missed collections and costs.
○ Delight residents through offering a digitally relevant superior service.
I’m sure you can relate with a handful of the above, so the question is, how can your ReCollect tools help you achieve these?
Pictou County, NS enabled an additional tab in their website tool and mobile app, to further promote their education and outreach program. The value of the tab is to increase the visibility of their programs to the captive audience they have using their ReCollect tools. Sasha Barnard said “this has been a goal over the past year, as many people are not aware of the free services we provide.”
Connecticut DEEP’s Recycle CT Foundation also tied in their ‘What’s in? What’s out?’ campaign with top searched materials from their Waste Wizard. The campaign takes centre stage on their website, and uses the metrics collected from their tools to inform and focus on the materials they know people are confused by, to challenge people’s knowledge. Each material is linked to the specific pages in their Waste Wizard website tool once clicked on.
SOCRRA, MI used their top searched materials metric from their Waste Wizard to create a weekly social media campaign titled ‘Material Monday’. They understood from their metrics what materials people needed education on, and were also able to see correlations with frequent contaminants.
In May 2019, the City and County of Honolulu initiated their Bulky Collection Pilot Program to achieve two goals: decrease illegal dumping and improve route efficiency. In the first month of the program they had 140 dumping hot spots – in subsequent months these decreased by 50% to 70 – additionally, the hot spots also saw less tonnage to collect. The pilot program and ReCollect tools in tandem provided a formalized process for residents, enabling them to expand the pilot to City and County wide.
Since discontinuing print calendar and recycling guides, the City of Cary, NC has saved $5,000 on print, design, and paper cost. Not only this, but they’ve experienced improved recycling and reduced contamination, by filling people’s knowledge gaps. The City has seen 44% of households already access their solid waste collection schedules through the app in the first year and they’ve attributed a nearly 3% decrease in their contamination rate to it. Their success has been recognized by receiving an award from the Carolina Recycling Association.
We can assume that searched materials in the Waste Wizard result in diverted materials and materials that will be disposed of in the correct way. For example a mattress on average weighs 100 lbs, so if the material ‘Mattress’ has been searched 200 times in your Waste Wizard we can assume that a ton of mattresses have been diverted from landfill.
St. John’s NL only received one like for a Twitter post that promoted an upcoming Backyard Composting Session, but reported that attendance went way up. They attributed this to adding the event to their Calendar tool – where almost 25% of households receive reminders and on average over 25k pairs of eyes view their Schedules every month.
Household Hazardous Waste Days participation increased by 25% for City of Concord, NC since launching their ReCollect tools. The City carried out a survey during these events and when attendees first arrived they were asked where they learned about the event, the majority of people said through the website tool and mobile app.
Having the tools to send real-time service alerts to people, in the event of a service delay, can prevent an onslaught of calls. Tori Carle of Greensboro, NC shared the impact on the inquiries she received – “in the past about 75 percent of those homes would call the city about the missed collection. (After using the Service Alert feature) I found out the next day, we had three calls”.
The City of Buckeye, AZ has a population that’s increasing at a very consistent pace, one of their goals is to divert phone calls and remind residents about pick-up days. In 2019, they conducted a phone data analysis that showed they have saved over 500 hours worth of call time since launching their ReCollect tools. The Customer Service staff utilize the Calendar and Waste Wizard tools while interacting with residents on the phone.
Grand Traverse, MI received thousands of calls (4-5k) a year on their Recycling Hotline, they simply changed the message and highlighted their Household Hazardous Waste Appointment Scheduler tool, which led to more people self servicing, from 40% to 90% booking appointments themselves.
Missed collections can be a costly service to incur, without being able to provide a solution to people to prevent this from happening again and again. The Calendar tool allows people to sign up for reminders, which prevents missed collections. If we assume that the cost of a missed collection is $12.00 – City of Vancouver, WA charge $11.66 for these return visits – you can start to imagine the financial savings with the more people that sign up for reminders or view their schedules regularly e.g. if 20% of households have a reminder in a City of 20,000, if each of those people with reminders don’t report a missed collection in a year that’s almost $50,000 savings.
As part of the efforts to inch toward their goal of achieving zero waste by 2040, the City of Austin, TX identified a new source of savings – discontinuing their printed calendars. The City will save $66,000 by not printing and mailing the estimated 190,000 calendars, year on year.
Along the same lines, Calgary, AB took the decision to wean their residents off printed calendars while making a major program change – introduce Green carts and reduce Garbage to every two weeks – Calgary estimated savings of $400,000 per year not distributing calendars and the equivalent of saving 200 trees!
A key goal for Columbia, MO is to remain digitally relevant in a university town – by providing self-service tools that increase resident happiness. To help spread the word, they utilized their mobile app reviews – accessed in their ReCollect metrics – to drive other residents to the tools. They found peer-to-peer testimonials are a powerful way to increase adoption and therefore resident happiness.
Smart Cities Connect awarded “Smart 50” to Marietta for their focus on community engagement, making specific reference to their Trash Talk sanitation mobile app. Marietta, GA became a ReCollect customer in September 2017 with a goal of being digitally relevant and are still reaping the benefits with over 50% of addresses searched in their Calendar tool, and an average mobile app store rating of 4.9 stars.
With over 2M mobile app downloads, our customers’ average mobile app rating is 4.7 stars!
Now more than ever Recycling Coordinators are under increasing pressure to ensure people correctly use the solid waste and recycling services provided to them.
If you’re not yet using ReCollect and need to convince decision makers to make the leap, consider this – can you afford not to use ReCollect?
● Ask us about our Essential Communications Tool starter kit to build a case.
● Watch one of our webinars to understand how ReCollect can help you achieve your goals.
● Know a peer, neighboring community or your competition that uses ReCollect, have them refer you and receive a marketer for the day. Or, reach out and talk to us directly.
Be a part of the ReCollect community and make your dream a reality.