TZW How-to kit
For the full version, click here to download.
We also have almost 100 pages of sample materials and resources you can download.
Planning a Toward Zero Waste Campaign
Good upfront planning will be critical to the success of your Toward Zero Waste campaign. Core components of the planning phase include a steering committee, determining critical partners, and developing your marketing plan and budget.
Develop a Steering Committee
A steering committee can be responsible for a variety of activities from strategic planning to fundraising for your campaign. Your steering committee would ideally be primarily composed of leaders of the most successful recyclers including manufacturers, builders and architects, retailers and restaurants, farmers markets and neighborhood coffee shops. Local business people trust other local business people and when you start to recruit businesses to the campaign everyone else will want to know who else is involved. Plus, this steering committee will be best positioned to know which ideas will be well received by participating businesses.
Determine Program Partners
Recycling can be complicated and establishing partners early on will be tremendously helpful for a successful campaign. A big part of the success of the Sustainable Connection’s Toward Zero Waste campaign is a close partnership with a local hauler that also provides recycling services. Other partners may include haulers and recyclers of all types (organic waste, construction and demolition waste, etc.)
local government, large event directors, large institutions, a business that has implemented recycling successfully, and any other local programs that are also working to reduce waste in your community.
Partners will help with tours of their facility for other community members to illustrate successful recycling and best practices. Partners will be willing to participate in a host of events to help educate business leaders and community members about Toward Zero Waste specific to your community. The right partners can ensure much more rapid adoption and greater success for the campaign. Partners can help with financing, provide in-kind campaign services, help you reach your audience(s), and can give the campaign credibility. Other good partners may be able to trade campaign sponsorship benefits for services you need. These could include independent media (offering ad space) or a printer or graphic designer. Many of these firms target their services at the same business owners that benefit from the campaign.
Marketing and Communications Planning
With your steering committee in place and your partners established you are off to a great start. The next steps for you and your committee are to develop the communications and fundraising plans for the campaign.
1. Campaign Goals:
The first set of questions to ask is related to your goals:
• What are you trying to accomplish through your communications? Example: This is an extremely easy program to sign up for and participate in.
• Who does this issue affect? Example: Business of all industries including home-based businesses, residents, employees, large events, and institutions
• Who do you want to reach out to? Example: All businesses, independent businesses, specific industry businesses, etc.
• What are the tangible outcomes you would like to achieve through a communications process?
Example: Our goal is for businesses to reduce their waste by at least 50 percent, which can be relatively easy and even profitable. These businesses are in turn marketing their waste reduction success to their employees and supply chain creating a waste reduction ripple effect in our community.
2. Pre-Campaign Research:
Before determining the specifics of your campaign, it is important to talk to businesses in your community. You may think you know why businesses make the waste choices they do and what is realistically possible in your community. However, without local research you could be significantly off base. A founding group of businesses that excel at waste reduction will most likely be your best resource
here. These businesses should be from a variety of industries as waste produced can vary dramatically from business to business.
3. Establish Founding Partners:
Before beginning your campaign, you will want to reach out to your membership to recruit a list of members who would be good candidates to help kick start your Toward Zero Waste campaign. These Founding Partners will likely have progressive waste reduction strategies already in place that you can glean good ideas on what is possible for other businesses to implement. These Founding Partners will receive the benefit of exposure in the community as a leading business in waste reduction while at the same time providing leadership to other businesses who choose to participate in the Toward Zero Waste campaign. This encourages other businesses to sign up as they see other businesses already reducing waste successfully, and participating businesses have access to best practices in your community.
4. Crafting Your Key Messages:
What are you trying to tell people?
Key messages make up the information you want your target audience to take in. If your messages are effective, sometime in the future your target audiences will be repeating your key messages on their own, creating a wonderful ripple effect.
Messages are simple, general themes, but differ from slogans.
• Nearly everything that goes to landfills has an alternative and better destination. Let’s find it!
• An 80 percent reduction in waste from your business can be relatively easy and even profitable!
Slogans are short, catchy phrases that help your audience understand and remember your message.
We have built our Toward Zero Waste slogans on the success of the Think Local First campaign.
Example: Think Local – Be Local – Be Waste Free
5. Reaching Your Audience:
Now comes the fun part! Quite often people want to skip right to this step but it’s important to have first determined whom your target audience is and what you want to say to them! Now you can creatively, and most effectively, think about how to reach them.
When considering different communications venues consider the following:
• Prominent Locations: Where or from whom does your audience get its information? Whom do they find credible? Where do they spend most of their time? Where are they most likely to give you their attention? Example: Local bookstore or coffee shop, company newsletter, other businesses in your community, local paper or radio station, etc.
• Promotional Materials: After selecting different venues, identify more specific activities. Example: Posters and window clings at store entrances and signs for recycle and garbage bins.
• Initial Campaign Participants: Encouraging your entire membership to join the Toward Zero Waste campaign is a great way to spread the campaign and a great starting point to engage your members in sustainable practices for their business. Promoting those participating businesses in your membership will encourage other members to sign up.
• Venues to Promote your Campaign: Example methods to reach your audience:
You could target media with a variety of different activities.
o Write a press release or have a live news conference.
o Ask your local radio and television stations to be campaign sponsors in return for running free public service announcements or ads.
o Participating businesses could run a story or include information about their Toward Zero Waste campaign in their internal and external newsletters and/or publications.
o Offer promotional materials like posters and stickers for all Toward Zero Waste campaign participants.
o Participating businesses can add your campaign slogan/logo to their website and newsletters.
o Promote participating businesses through your membership by adding a Toward Zero Waste icon next to business names in all your membership publications.
o Events and workshops to promote your campaign and educate members on best practices.
6. Establishing a Timeline and Project Plan:
Once you have decided on your core activities, you will want to create an action plan for implementation.
Start by listing all the activities you have decided to pursue. Under each activity outline the steps, in order, that will lead to its completion, assign a budget estimate, and assign a point person.
7. Creating a Budget:
Depending on the size of your Toward Zero Waste campaign expect to budget for a quarter- to fulltime employee for about three months to explore feasibility and develop the program – a rough cost of $8,000. This role includes time to research models/best practices, local barrier identification, partnership development, establishing pioneers and best practices, planning key activities and budget development for campaign. Once you have an action plan, you will easily budget out what is needed for your
• Materials: logos, printing, postage, ads and inserts, banners, table top displays for conferences, brochures, promotional give-aways, etc.
• Staff/services: personal, graphic design, website development and maintenance, phone, etc.
8. Develop a Toward Zero Waste Toolkit:
There are many great resources included in the appendix to build up your Toward Zero Waste Toolkit.
You will likely find many local resources to properly adapt to your community. Local waste haulers and city government have provided much input on recycle signage in our community. Many cities have now developed recycle signage that is available to anyone. Make sure to look before you create from scratch.
Please contact us for our permission if you would like to use our materials.
Offering businesses a ready-to-use marketing campaign for their waste reduction is crucial to their success. This allows businesses to easily promote waste reduction to their employees, customers, and maybe even suppliers. Consider the following components for your toolkit:
• Website: A Toward Zero Waste webpage outlining how to sign up and participate in the campaign with links to great resources. Campaign sponsors and participating businesses can also be listed.
• Instruction Document: A clearly defined set of instructions on what is needed to sign up is very helpful for businesses interested in the Toward Zero Waste campaign this can be posted on your website and created into a stand alone flyer to use when introducing the campaign.
• Sign Up Sheet: Display Toward Zero Waste sign up sheets to use at all your events.
• Flyer: Create a simple list of ways you can reduce waste in your community and offer this information as a tool in your toolkit and hand out at events.
• Signage: Professionally designed recycle signage that businesses can use to help mark their recycle bins.
• Welcome Letter: A welcome letter about joining the campaign and what you might expect as a participant.
• Promotional Materials: Offer Toward Zero Waste posters and stickers for participating businesses to proudly display in the entrance of their business.
• Logos: Offer Toward Zero Waste logos for participating businesses to proudly display on their website, business cards, print ads, etc.
• Press Release: A sample press release for participants to use to promote their waste reduction successes
Set Evaluation Milestones
As you proceed you need to take stock of your progress. It can be helpful to set evaluation methods with a regular schedule of gathering that data from your participants. You will want to ask your participants what’s going well, and where the campaign could use improvements. Use those opportunities to collect
anecdotal evidence of your campaign’s effectiveness as well.
Change your plans based on what you learn in your evaluations. If you have learned that some activities are less well adopted than others, redesign or cut your losses. If you are have unexpected successes, incorporate the causes into your plans.