When Dalbey Education Institute (DEI), which provides financial education to entrepreneurs, requested that its agency, Metzger Associates, dispose of its obsolete computers and monitors in a responsible way, the firm agreed, thinking it signed up for a simple donation task.
But hazardous materials found in more than 315 million obsolete computers, as well as environmental laws banning improper dumping, complicated the assignment.
Metzger had to find a way to ditch the computers while properly representing what Eric Olsen, DEI SVP of marketing, calls a "company built on philosophy of impact." The firm initiated a partnership between DEI and Executive Recycling. It also planned and promoted a computer recycling event to raise awareness about detrimental technical equipment and to enable area residents to dispose of old computers. "We were trying to get rid of [the computers], but in a positive way, and through the process, we identified a need in the community," says Olsen.
Metzger planned the event, held in the DEI parking lot, on June 23 to coincide with spring cleaning. "We targeted about everyone in the community," says Ian McIntyre, account associate at Metzger. "Everyone has this computer stuff lying around." To promote the event, Metzger conducted extensive outreach, sending press releases and advisories to local media. The event was featured on local TV and in community calendars. And DEI did an interview with Denver's KMGH radio 30 minutes before the event.
More than 500 people attended the event, recycling 14,000 pounds of computer waste and other outdated devices. "We were amazed," says Olsen. "It showed that there was a big need in the community."
Olsen said DEI might host the event once a quarter to help the community get rid of old equipment.
PR team: Dalbey Education Institute (Westminster, CO) and Metzger Associates (Boulder, CO)
Campaign: Computer recycling event
Duration: April to June 2007