Expanded outreach to Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese communities, tripling the number of customers reached through community events.
In 2014-2015, Waste Management began outreach at key Spanish-speaking events in Snohomish County, and was able to engage with more than 800 customers. In 2016-2017, Waste Management extended its reach beyond Spanish-speaking audiences to explore opportunities to reach Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese-speaking audiences in Snohomish County. These additional language groups represent the top languages spoken in the county.
To effectively reach these four communities and adapt to a variety of event spaces, Waste Management developed a portable, multilingual sorting game. The engagement tool featured magnetic labels that enabled the team to adapt the game's language to the event's audience and use game pieces representing disposable items with cultural significance to each community.
Waste Management participated in a total of 19 event days, reaching 2,333 customers with information about recycling, including 833 Chinese-speakers, 468 Vietnamese-speakers, 815 Korean-speakers and 844 Spanish-speakers. For better promotion, Waste Management incorporated a media component to advertise events. Waste Management partnered with El Rey 1360, a popular Regional Mexican radio station, and Radio Hankook, a Korean-language radio station, to promote grocery store events, and with Azteca América, a Spanish-language broadcast television network, to promote Waste Management's participation in Festival Afrolatino.
Latino Outreach Pilot
In 2017, Waste Management conducted a pilot tailored to Latino residents in single-family homes in Snohomish County to test different recycling education outreach methods amongst Spanish-speaking, single-family residents. Waste Management approached the pilot through a behavior change perspective, with the goal of identifying which outreach method are most effective at shifting participants' behavior.
The pilot kicked off with a survey sent to all 2,308 Spanish-speaking Waste Management customers in Snohomish County unincorporated areas to learn about their recycling behavior. The survey received 282 responses and revealed that the vast majority of these customers already engage in recycling behavior, but also uncovered an area of opportunity to emphasize to residents which materials are recyclable.
The 282 survey respondents were sorted into four test groups, and over the course of a month WM tested four outreach strategies on these pilot participants: advertising, texting, mail-in tools and door-to-door outreach. After testing these outreach methods, Waste Management sent a follow-up survey to measure changes in participants' behavior and outreach recall. Of the 150 customers who responded to the follow-up survey, 32% reported a shift in their behavior: in the past 30 days, they did not place any recyclable items in the garbage.
Through the pilot, WM learned that direct mail and TV advertising had the highest impacts on behavior change, with 40% and 30% of participants recalling these outreach methods and respectively shifting their behavior. Additionally, through surveys and follow-up interviews, WM learned that customers want to know more detailed information about priority recyclables, particularly paper and plastic. These insights helped inform the Odes to Recycling campaign and will continue to guide efforts to reach the Spanish-speaking community.
2017 study tests the effectiveness of various outreach methods with Latino customers in Snohomish County.
"Odes to Recyclables" Spanish Language Education Campaign
Waste Management leveraged insights from its Latino Outreach Pilot to develop a Spanish language education campaign to inform residents about deeper recycling best practices in a culturally relevant way. Inspired by the work of Pablo Neruda and his Odes to everyday elements, the "Odas al reciclaje" or "Ode to recyclables" campaign pays homage to recyclable plastics, paper and cans that can be re-born again for the benefit of the planet and future generations.
Waste Management worked together with local writers and poets through the Seattle Escribe organization, local design company Caracas Stencil Design, and musicians Jorge Vazquez Fourlong and Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana to create this creative campaign. Waste Management and Seattle Escribe coordinated a contest for writers to submit entries that would serve as the foundation of the campaign. From more than 100 entries, a winner was picked for each of the four odes categories: Oda al papel/Ode to paper; Oda al plástico/Ode to plastic, Oda a la lata/Ode to the can," and a combined Oda al reciclaje/Ode to Recycling.
The campaign launched in December 2017, featuring four public service announcement videos, four radio ads and a printed direct mail recycling guide. Waste Management also updated its Spanish language website: www.wmnorthwest.com/espanol to feature the new education campaign and additional recycling best practices resources.
To promote the Odes, a comprehensive six-week Spanish media and digital ad campaign also ran across Univision Seattle, La Gran D and Tu Familia radio stations as well as Google/YouTube, Facebook, Pandora and KING 5. In addition, a number of Spanish broadcast interviews on the campaign featuring the Odes writers took place in January 2018 and the education campaign continued through February 2018.
WM launches new recycling campaign created by and for the Latino community.
Distribution of Transcreated Multilingual Materials
In 2015, Waste Management transcreated recycle, compost and garbage guides in Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Somali and Vietnamese. These materials make sorting waste much easier for the diverse communities of Snohomish county, but only when they have easy access to them! In 2017, WM reached out to a variety of organizations who work with these communities to partner in distributing materials. More than 600 guides were distributed through partnerships with WSU Extension and Familias Unidas.
More than 600 guides distributed through partnerships!