SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): Let me open with a Spiderman Quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The point here is that you need to be conscious of your power as an owner of a waste management company. In this article, you will discover what this great power is and how to use it to increase waste segregation and consequently save our planet.
First, do not underestimate the power you have as an owner of a waste management company. You may be asking questions like, “What power?” and “Yes, but I have my responsibility as a
business owner, and what other one should I have?” and, “Whatever, but what does Spiderman have to do with waste?”
These are all legitimate questions. So, what does it mean to increase waste segregation with marketing and why should you consider it as a goal? Nevermind that little voice that tells you the usual talk about environmental benefits. That is not the topic (although there really would be an endless debate on it).
In fact, waste segregation produces results for your company made up of direct monetary return, related to the waste that arrives already separated (in principle) inside of your plant, and a long-term monetary return, since it fosters the development of the local economy. Development produces an additional return for you if the city offers a good quality of life; it will attract new citizens who will produce additional waste that your collection service can pick up.
In short, if you look closely, a separate collection produces several benefits for you that can change your company’s results in the medium term. Then, why is it that waste collection companies do not effectively champion a waste separation approach to municipal waste management?
Unfortunately, many times it is a “We have always done it this way” mentality. At the root of the problem is fear of change. Fear is dictated by not knowing what that change might mean for the company, its staff, and their families. In many cases, however, the fear is that you are opening your flank to a competitor who, like a hawk with its prey, is just waiting for you to make a misstep. It is that feeling where in spite of so many advantages being projected in front of you, you prefer to stay the course for fear of taking a false step and sinking.
You have my full understanding. However, there is a solution that you can implement within your company that is able to promote recycling collection in your area and, at the same time, bring benefits to your company. Namely:
1. Obtaining waste already separated and ready to be processed and sold as a secondary raw material;
2. Fostering the development of the local economy through the resale of secondary raw materials for the production of goods;
3. Increasing the city’s quality of life and consequently attracting new citizens who will produce waste that you will collect, giving rise to further growth.
What is targeted marketing? Doing marketing means setting up a process that facilitates the sale of a product or service to a group of people who want it. Target marketing means identifying the target group of people who want your service and promoting its sale.
I already know you are thinking, “But my target audience is citizens.” Waste collection is not simply related to environmental management, but is also related to culture and the desire to safeguard our planet. Here then, it becomes crucial to identify the right target group of people to leverage.
For this reason, the first step you will need to take is to analyze your database and merge it with the collection data you have now. Add this to the data that highlights the areas of the city, which cities, or which macro-areas, where recycling collection has the best results. This will already give have a wealth of information. And that is just the beginning.
Once you have those two pieces of data, organize a targeted communication campaign for that area where you inform everybody of the benefit of separate collection—which they are contributing to—is producing. This campaign will aim to invite people to attend an event dedicated to understanding how to increase the quality of their recycling collection in exchange for something for them. It could be a contest, or simply making a contribution to schools in the area.
In fact, I suggest you talk to the mayor or the district manager about it so that they could participate as well. The results you will produce will amplify the perceptions of people who will want to adhere to recycling and will do so diligently. This will bring the three benefits I mentioned and will produce a return for your company, your community, and, most importantly, the environment.
Remember that the first action you need to take is to analyze your database by checking where recycling collection is already working and then from there start promoting it with dedicated events and meetings.
I know you are asking yourself, “What if I don’t have an area where recycling collection is already working, how do I do that?” Create an event dedicated to promoting recycling collection right there in the neighborhood and, as I suggested before, invite the mayor, local authorities, and the press as well as the community.
At the event, present the benefits of recycling collection in terms of the jobs that can be created, more widespread wealth, and a healthier environment. Gather the contact
information of everyone in attendance (first name, last name, e-mail, and phone number), so you can make the service start-up calls. Within two weeks make sure you call them and start the service.
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