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The Opportunity

Our environment is a topic on the global stage and waste is a key part of the problem and message.  People are listening, awareness is heightened, and the message is clear – behavior change. We’ve never been more poised to be heard. 

Old methods are tied to old behaviours, we need to change if we expect change.  Remember when you had to wait in line at the bank to do a simple withdrawal or deposit a check?  Many years ago the banking industry went digital, and of course so many others to the point it’s expected.  I’m talking – to go beyond the annual printed collection guide and calendars, step away from the phones, go beyond the long web pages and pages of materials, and become a real-time app with answers at your fingertips.  Many waste industry players have embraced this and therefore have years of knowledge – making mistakes, doing things right, refining practices, and rolling with the millenium. We’ve been alongside them learning, improving and pushing.  Tap into this wealth of knowledge – tap into our Community.

Our Community

The ReCollect community is made up of hundreds of municipalities and haulers across North America and the UK; many employees who have worked for similar municipalities and haulers in various capacities like school outreach coordinators and feet on the street curbside auditors; our leaders are influential like our CEO David Eaves named Top 10 most influential in government tech (ahem! how many companies can say something like that) and our CTO Luke Closs – a sought after contributor to Code for Canada.  Not to mention, we’re all people who live in a dwelling and need to know what what bin something goes in!

Our network is large and strong, full of waste industry experts and therefore the true meaning of a wealth of knowledge.

Our Challenge

We all share common responsibilities – from curbside changes like introducing a new Organics program while switching to bi-weekly garbage, how to communicate and enforce it all, to constant education due to ever changing markets of what’s accepted and what’s not.  This of course with grand goals of increasing diversion by 40% or zero waste, reducing contamination while improving resident happiness, and on a budget! The good news is by going digital you have tangible evidence of contribution to these goals, but more so you fast-track your results because of the wealth of knowledge by expanding your network to our community.

Going Digital

Residents Talk!  One of our favorite mobile app reviews that we get quite often is “the day before garbage day reminder saved my marriage.” 5 stars.

“A Communications Cornerstone” as said by Julie Rosenbach – Sustainability Director, South Portland.  Digital offers people real-time reminders and recycle-right answers from the ease of a hand-held device.

Printed calendars and recycling guides – do you dream of moving away from them?  We like to envision all the trees we’re saving because of what Philippa Wagner, Green Cart Implementation Leader, City of Calgary said while making a major program change.  “We weaned residents off printed calendars during this major service change.” Their estimated savings of not distributing calendars “$400,000 per year, the equivalent of 200 trees!”

Sending real-time service alerts for service disruptions for example, “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…I thought that was a really fun way to provide customer service that really went above and beyond what is typically expected from municipal communications. We’re really able to be proactive instead of reactive.” Tori Carle, waste reduction supervisor for the city of Greensboro

Data Intelligence – comes simply by people interacting with the app.  A huge advantage to knowing what materials people are confused about, informs education and service programs. Recycle CT includes the top materials searched in their app, right on their website homepage next to the lookup wizard.

Driving Adoption

The key to introducing mobile and web apps is to really focus on driving (pointing) people to the app. All communications should include a link to the website and certainly the universally known Google Play and Apple download buttons – like this postcard template we give to our customers use.

Use every communication channel to send the same message, like this ATL Twitter feed.

As people begin to get those reminders that save their marriage, you add succinct educational messages about proper disposal of materials you know they’re confused about, or changes you’re making like “we’re now accepting glass!” People will appreciate the value and in turn tell their friends and neighbors about it.  You’ll become an evangelist like me! I love when I strike up a conversation with a stranger, and if we talk about what we do for a living – I get to either tell them about the app in their city, or better yet – they tell me they have it and love it!  

What you put into promotion; you get out in adoption.  That’s where our Academy helps!

The ReCollect Academy

I’ve worked for software companies for over 15 years now, watched the evolution and learned truly what customers need in order to be successful.  For a software company, it is very common to have a Help section – a hub to access How-To videos and Tips on using features. We do that. But the real substance, the real help, comes from the generosity of the ReCollect community. A hub of the wealth of knowledge by those who walk the walk, and ultimately drive behavior change.  This is your fastpass to success.

A peak into what to expect from our Academy built by our community:

Webinars – a platform for our customers to speak and share the challenges they’ve tackled and how they’ve achieved success.

The 2020 series is entitled: Broaden Your Network and Best Practices.  Topics planned:

o   Engaging Different Demographics

o   School Outreach Programs – Take the Message Home

o   Thinking About a 1-City App?  Best Practices

o   Reduce Costs: Collection Calendar Best Practices

o   Getting to Zero Waste – Stricter Curbside?

A highlight from 2019 – Curbside Evaluations – conducted by our resident expert because of her feet-on-the-street experience!

Promotional material – when we kick-off with a customer and show our library of hundreds of examples, they get excited and inspired.  When they produce their own, they share it back. That’s how it works! That’s the generosity exemplified.

Types of content to name a few:

Bin stickersTeaser videosBilling insertsTruck wraps
Door hangersMedia releasesBrochuresBillboards
ContestsNewslettersRadio adsBanner ads
Bus shelter adsMagazine articlesReusable bagsT-shirts

Of course, we create a lot of content too.  Our aim is to provide templates and ready-made-content.  Things that require very little effort for our customers to use but have a big impact.

Our promo video is a perfect example of this – a highly successful tactic because who doesn’t love an explainer video!

Social Media Posts – our statistics show that a simple Facebook post can render between 200-500 new users to the app. Our posts are all ready-made content, just copy and post!  There’s enough in our library that can cover a year’s worth of multiple posts per month.

Our posts topics are derived from the very data I’ve described, and from across all of our customers – the top, TOP confusion across 5million users.  The imagery, voice and style of messaging is meant to be thought provoking, with some humor, to get the point across. Appliances are still a top searched for item!  Mention money and you’ll get people’s attention.

Wishcycling, tanglers, FOGs, upcycling, grasscycling – what do these things have in common?

1) They’re the do’s and don’ts of recycling.

2) They’re fantastic made-up words.

3) They’re made-up words that we in the waste industry know very well (ok and our stellar recyclers too) and are trying to make mainstream!

We’re careful to stick to these fun words, and not mix in industry terms that don’t have that same appeal.  As was well said in #18. Ditch the jargon in 20 Ways To Be More Effective in Your Waste and Recycling Communications.

With all of these resources, and knowing that going digital solves problems, provides data, gives people what they want, creates a platform to educate – what more would you need?  Perhaps an award like the City of Marietta who won a Smart 50 Award, honoring the 50 most transformative smart projects of the year, for their focus on Community Engagement and their Trash Talk sanitation mobile app.

Our Gratitude

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers!  Thank you for being so creative, beyond generous, and truly brave.  Thank you for letting us be by your side for almost a decade in a shared mission to reduce contamination, wishcycling and call volumes while empowering people to be great recyclers.

Angela Najab thrives working alongside great people. She specializes in customer success, and has spent much of her career delighting customers in the technology industry. Angela’s passion for customer success and wealth of experience in marketing make her the perfect Customer Success team leader . Having lived in Costa Rica for the past several years, she’s learned to value culture, family and fun!