At Texas Disposal Systems (TDS), we seek to make changes and cultivate more sustainable consumer choices by prioritizing education for individuals, municipalities, and our business and community partners. By giving our customers and communities a better understanding of recycling and waste-diversion processes, there’s a better chance they’ll take steps to make a difference.
During the past year, we’ve dedicated resources to raising awareness of proper methods of hazardous waste disposal. Our team utilizes multiple marketing and communications channels to get the word out and shift behaviors.
Some of our successful tactics include the following:
We provide essential services to many cities throughout Central Texas. Through strong relationships with our city partners, we’re able to amplify our messaging.
In the Austin area, for example, TDS provides recycling services to almost 50% of all households.
We partnered with Austin Resource Recovery, the city’s recycling department, to raise awareness of the dangers of including lithium-ion batteries in recycling. Because of this partnership, customers received important information through multiple channels and from two local entities they know and trust.
For commercial partners, TDS strives to be more than a waste services provider. When companies choose TDS, we give them what they need. We also provide education on ways they could handle their waste differently.
For example, TDS partners with event facilities and providers, offices, hotels, restaurants/food services and more. Our sustainability advisor is available to meet with each business client, conduct waste audits and recommend better waste management processes.
We share information with customers on our website, and we also make sure the same information is accessible in multiple, interactive ways.
For example, we share information on hazardous waste recycling through the Waste Wizard tool. Customers can search for specific items they want to dispose of, including batteries, paints and flammable liquids. They can also get details about the right location for proper disposal so they can create an action plan for getting their hazardous waste to one of our approved disposal locations. In addition, we build out quarterly campaigns for our subscribed Waste Wizard customers that tackle subjects such as hazardous waste.
Blog posts from waste service providers can include valuable information on recycling, composting and other waste diversion issues. They can create awareness for existing customers as well as for people who find them through search engines when they’re looking for related information. These people may not be our customers, but they’re still able to gain beneficial information from our content.
As we create new blog content, we focus on topics that educate and inform our customers. We also strive to create useful content for both individuals and businesses, so both groups can gain specialized knowledge related to their needs. Here are a couple of examples of these types of blogs: 5 Explosive Trash Terrors and How to Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste.
Our monthly newsletter goes to existing customers and reinforces critical information. In this newsletter, we share helpful articles that make recycling appealing and manageable.
We distribute useful tips and news articles, as well as promote community drives or events that allow us to increase diversion. Special services like Christmas tree recycling or appropriate flag disposal are promoted to remind customers they can depend on TDS for less common waste issues as well as for their typical waste disposal.
We also feature certain issues when we know they might be more relevant. For example, hazardous waste problems tend to arise during the summer when high temperatures can make the materials more volatile. During summer months, we use the newsletter to refresh customers’ memories on how to properly handle these items.
TDS actively shares information on social media to reinforce issues. While some content is promoted across all platforms, we also segment content to align with the audiences most likely to use each.
For example, our LinkedIn content focuses more deeply on resources for business, while our Instagram features quicker video content and TDS activity in our local community. If there’s an issue or opportunity we want to highlight, we’ll share those details across all social platforms.
On social media, we include a wide variety of content types, so we have many opportunities to catch people’s attention. For example, as we continued our hazardous waste campaign, we used YouTube to share an informative video on lithium-ion battery disposal and promoted the video and other posts (text, infographics, etc.) across other social platforms
Getting the word out takes effort and repetition
The marketing “rule of seven” says it takes seven repetitions for people to act on a message. In today’s digital world, it can often take even more to cut through distractions and get that message across.
When we communicate the same message across multiple channels, it increases the likelihood that people will receive it and make changes to their behavior. When it comes to safely recycling, those changes can make a significant difference for our waste processing employees and for the safety of our facilities.
Leticia Mendoza is the director of marketing and communications for Texas Disposal Systems (TDS), which is headquartered in Creedmoor, near Austin.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Resource Recycling, Inc. If you have a subject you wish to cover in an op-ed, please send a short proposal to [email protected] for consideration.