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Public Education Campaign
Recycle More Now
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Montgomery County, Maryland – Division of Solid Waste Services  

Situation:  

Montgomery County, Maryland, is mandated by law to recycle 50% of its waste stream.  

Potomac was selected to prepare a full-scale communications and marketing strategy to help the county of 850,000 residents rise above the 36 percent recycling rate.  This is a tremendously vital campaign, which could set a nationwide example.

Approach:

Potomac has largely focused on promoting the Montgomery County’s recycling program among the single and multifamily residential communities and also among children in public and private schools.   

Currently, Potomac is promoting a new Mixed Paper Recycling service being phased in through the Fall  – using a comprehensive outreach and education campaign to reach every residence in the county.  Through a coordinated effort of direct-mail materials including refrigerator magnets, door hangers, newspaper advertising, and a telephone campaign, we will reach every household at least four times over a five-week time period – with a strong message about the new Mixed Paper Recycling service.

Potomac organized a highly successful media event to launch this “Recycle 50%”  program at several sites the same day:  major business, elementary school, and a college. 

  • We created a big coalition and an “Honor Roll of Recyclers” – with several hundred community leaders, public officials, environmental organizations, unions, businesses, and the education community.               
  • Potomac produced television and print ads, while performing extensive media outreach to gain ‘free media’ for the client.               
  • We also produced promotional items made from “recycled materials” and developed a direct-mail campaign announcing the launch event.

Early on, Potomac conducted focus groups, a quantitative survey, and public outreach pilot projects to assess public recycling behavior and attitudes.

   

In addition, Potomac has helped Montgomery County promote the Recycling Volunteer/Master Composter program with brochures and exhibit materials, as well as America Recycles Day with print ads and giveaway items. 

Potomac produced brochures, posters, and a video in both English and Spanish designed to help multifamily property managers and residents recycle easily.

 

Recently released are two lively educational videos to show school children at every grade level how to recycle at school.  One features the animated “Spacenauts” characters and an original story line.

Outcome:

This is an ongoing campaign.

Neighborhood groups are getting involved by carrying the “Recycle 50%” message at their community meetings and in their newsletters. 

Newspaper editors are giving free space for getting out the message. 

   The Hispanic community is being targeted with special events and materials prepared in Spanish. 

Each week, residents countywide are adding cereal boxes, junk mail, telephone books, magazines, and catalogs to their blue recycle bins – in a concerted effort to reach the recycling rate of 50% of its waste stream.  

When last checked, recycling levels were at 40% and climbing.

 

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