At ReCollect, we combine our technological know-how with our expertise in solid waste and recycling to create real change in the industry, one organization at a time.
But while we work behind the scenes and with customers to meet our collective goals, our customers are busy putting in the real work, making the most of our digital tools to help their residents generate less waste, recycle better, and care for our planet.
Sudbury, Ontario, is a perfect example. The City of Greater Sudbury exemplifies an organized and systematic approach to massive program change by making waste diversion as easy as possible for their residents.
They kicked their work into high gear in 2016 when the city presented a five-year plan to its City Council to reduce their waste collection. That year, they would move from three bags of garbage per week to two bags per week, and eventually, to two bags every other week. That same year, they also rolled out their Collection Calendar, Waste Wizard and Mobile App tools.
When Sudbury first proposed its plan in 2016, its City Council asked that staff develop special support programs for households that need assistance with larger volumes of waste.
Over the next 5 years, Sudbury created seven.
To help their residents meet their waste goals, the city offers:
● A garbage container limit exemption for diaper waste, allowing up to one (1) clear bag of diapers per child under the age of 4 every week, on top of the regular garbage limit
● A cloth diaper rebate program, which covers up to $100 per child
● A medical waste program which offers up to 104 free bag tags to residents who generate excess waste due to a medical circumstances
● A Dog Waste Digester rebate program, which covers up to $50 per household
● An extra bag allowance for pet waste
● A Rent-To-Own and Subsidy program for Approved Waste Storage Containers
● In home visits (pre-COVID-19)
In 2019, Sudbury stepped up their game again when they added Special Collection tool to its toolbox to help residents schedule bulky pickups.
Then, in October 2019, the city moved from its allotted two bags of trash every week to one bag per week. Not only were the tools working well for the city, they were working well for its residents, too. As the city implemented these changes, they saw a significant spike in usage metrics for its Waste Wizard tool and mobile app downloads.
And they didn’t stop there. In Spring 2020, Sudbury teed up for success by getting creative with their tools. For instance, the Special Collections tool began to also allow residents to order free recycling and green bins. This, in turn, continued to encourage waste diversion.
And it’s working. As of September 9, 2021, about 35% of Sudbury households have made a request through the tool, and the city has distributed more than 32,000 requested bins.
The final phase of Sudbury’s plan was completed in February 2021, when the city moved to collecting two bags of garbage every other week. But not only did the city switch up the frequency and amount of garbage it would collect, it also changed collection days for some 20% of its residents for operational efficiency, which amounted to roughly 13,000 households.
To find success, Sudbury rolled out its changes slowly, and the city was there for its residents every step of the way. In 2019, for instance, its promotional efforts were focused on its Waste Wizard. In 2020, it focused on getting residents to use its Collection Calendar, Mobile App, and reminders for collections and more. To keep its residents informed and to get ahead of any issues, it sent letters and flyers by mail to anyone who would be affected by the change. The city also put together a pretty amazing video for Facebook.
Because Sudbury does not distribute annual printed calendars (except upon request), their messaging was pretty clear: Lots of changes are coming, so download the app for more information about your new weekly garbage collection date.
Not only is Sudbury finding success when it comes to its waste and recycling, its residents are happy, too. And they have the metrics and feedback to prove it. Sudbury’s collection overhaul plan was massive, to be sure, but making changes gradually allowed residents a smooth transition. The city’s creativity with our tools further helped their cause, and the assistance programs the council required helped to ensure that residents would be supported at every turn.
ReCollect may create digital recycling tools, but it takes cities like Sudbury to make them work. If you’ve perused our tools and think they can help you carry out your work, let’s talk. We can start with a 20-minute call to talk more about your waste and recycling goals.