2014 Summary


Compost Days - Snohomish County & King County

In the spring of 2014, the Waste Management team hosted Compost Days as a way to say thank you to Snohomish and King County WUTC residents for diverting 350,000 tons of food, food-soiled paper and yard debris from landfills. During the month-long celebration, residents received deep discounts on Cedar Grove Compost at 130 area retailers and discounts on kitchen containers and compostable bags at Fred Meyer stores. Local gardens also benefited from the campaign. The Big Garden Give, the region's first-ever compost drive, provided 1,119 yards of free compost to more than 120 gardens that grow food for low-income residents. Snohomish and King County WUTC customers were reached through earned media, paid media and direct mail. Multiple TV outlets, blogs and community papers covered this campaign with a total reach of over 9 million impressions. The campaign received two Totem awards from the Public Relations Society of America - Puget Sound Chapter, including Best in Show.

All You Can Shovel Events - Snohomish County

Snohomish County and the Waste Management team hosted the second annual All You Can Shovel events in May and August, to help motivate residents to start composting food scraps, yard debris, and food-soiled paper. Event attendees were invited to take home as much free compost as they could shovel into their vehicles - they came with shovels in hand and the largest vehicles they owned or could rent! 271 participants left with 693 yards of free compost, equivalent to a thin layer spread across seven football fields. 239 of those event attendees took a Foodcycling pledge to start composting food scraps, yard debris, and foodsoiled paper; in exchange, they received tips and tools on composting, and a free kitchen compost container.

Scrap Happy Kitchen Chef Demo Events - King County

Scrap Happy Kitchen demonstrations, waste-free recipes, and free food samples from Safeway's Chef, Nicole Aloni, provided King County Waste Management WUTC residents a fun and delicious way to learn tips and tricks for composting. The Waste Management team set up the Scrap Happy Kitchen booth at three well-attended King County farmers markets: Sammamish Farmers Market, Celebrate Woodinville, and the Auburn International Farmers Market. 43,364 King County customers who live in the WUTC were invited to the event nearest to them; there, they received free compostable bags, composting education and free samples of waste-free recipes. The 1,361 Foodcyclers who had taken the Foodcycling pledge but had not yet received a container were also invited to the event to pick up their free container. Through the Scrap Happy Kitchen booths, Waste Management reached 600 residents. A total of 156 kitchen containers were distributed at these events, a 12 percent redemption rate—just over two times higher than the 3.5 percent average redemption rate.

Keep Compost O'Natural Produce Sticker Trading Card -
Snohomish County & King County
The number one type of garbage put in compost by mistake are the plastic stickers found on fruit and vegetables. To educate customers and reduce contamination, the Waste Management team produced a Keep Compost O' Natural Produce Sticker Trading Card where residents were incentivized to collect produce stickers on their cards and exchange a full card at a Cedar Grove landscaping facility for a free bag of compost. Waste Management mailed the trading card to 46,469 Snohomish County residents, sent an e-blast to Foodcyclers in Snohomish County, gave the card out at the Scrap Happy Kitchen demo events in King County and added a downloadable version to the Foodcycling website. To date, more than 1,600 residents have redeemed full trading cards for free compost in Snohomish County, some even put produce stickers on handmade cards with their own paper. The results are in line with the industry standard 3.5 percent redemption rate; an impressive redemption rate considering the call-to-action required additional steps compared to typical direct mail call-to-action request. The campaign received coverage in The New York Times in an article focused on the impact of the produce stickers in curbside composting.

I'm a Foodcycler Campaign - Snohomish County & King County
To motivate residents to start composting food scraps, yard debris, and food soiled paper, Waste Management continued the successful I'm a Foodcycler campaign in King and Snohomish Counties. In 2014 at the All You Can Shovel and Scrap Happy Kitchen: Sammamish Farmers Market events, Waste Management added 271 new Foodcycler pledges to the list of 5,275 total residents who signed the pledge in 2013. In March, the Waste Management team sent an email survey to all Foodcyclers in King and Snohomish Counties to learn more about attitudes and barriers to composting. 5,147 people responded, most within the first day. A large percentage of Foodcyclers (88 percent) reported using their kitchen container to compost food scraps daily. Throughout the year, e-blast communications were sent to Foodcyclers to regularly communicate announcements, events, and curbside composting tips and tricks. The September Trading Card e-blast had a 44 percent open rate and 13 percent click-through rate; the open rate was more than twice the industry standard of 20 percent.

Compost to Farm Trials
Click Here for a larger view Waste Management, in partnership with Snohomish County Solid Waste, has collaborated with Washington State University (WSU) Snohomish County Extension's pilot program to test the impact of commercial compost on local farms. The Snohomish County Agricultural Compost Research and Outreach Project (SCACROP).

SCACROP allows researchers to build local soil quality, to evaluate the effect of using compost and to connect local farmers with resources. Through the outreach program, farmers receive 50 cubic yards (one semi-trailer load) of commercial compost to use in a side-by-side crop comparison study.

Nearly 60 local farmers have used more than 3,500 tons of commercial compost from Cedar Grove, Baily Compost and Lenz Enterprises through the trials. Participating farms have reported that applying compost to farmland has increased crop yields and size of produce, as well as increased nitrogen levels, soil workability, water retention and the amount of organic matter within the soil. Farmers also report that produce has improved flavor.

Waste Management has funded the double-screening process and delivery for the compost, developed educational messages and materials about the foodcycle loop, participated in the spring WSU Ag Compost stakeholder workshop, and codeveloped educational posters used by seasonal "agritainment" destinations like u-pick blueberry fields, pumpkin patches and holiday tree farms.

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