Columbus residents curb recycled trash with new green initiative

The City of Columbus teamed with Hill+Knowlton Strategies and local agency MurphyEpson Public Relations to develop a new curbside recycling program to replace the city's subscription service in hopes of making Columbus a greener city.

Organization: City of Columbus, Office of Mayor Michael Coleman, and Department of Public Service (Columbus, OH)
Campaign
: Hill+Knowlton Strategies (Washington, DC, and Tampa, FL) and MurphyEpson Public Relations (Columbus, OH)
Duration
: December 2011-ongoing
Budget
: $260,000

The City of Columbus teamed with Hill+Knowlton Strategies and local agency MurphyEpson Public Relations to develop a new curbside recycling program to replace the city's subscription service in hopes of making Columbus a greener city.

Strategy
Branded RecyColumbus, the goal was to generate excitement and pride in the city's effort to be environmentally responsible.

Residents were educated on the benefits of the new recycling program, collection schedules, and how to properly recycle household items.

Implementation began before recycling carts were scheduled to arrive in communities. Success was measured based on proper usage of carts.

Tactics
H+K and MurphyEpson targeted local businesses, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, public libraries, and recreational centers to grow community support. Volunteers were trained as recycling champions to serve as program advocates by reminding residents of the new program and collection times. The campaign utilized a range of activities including events, giveaways, door hangers, and automated call reminders.

Results
Less than 2% of residents refused to receive a recycling cart, far surpassing the goal of a 20% refusal rate. The first three months of the initiative saved city taxpayers $176,971 in tipping fees to the dump and has generated more than 3,000 tons of recyclable materials.

Future
H+K and MurphyEpson are working to promote the campaign as a best practice among other recycling communities nationwide, including speaking engagements at trade shows aimed at recycling stakeholders in 2013.

The city hopes to increase the amount of waste being recycled from 8% to 22% by 2015.

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