Recycling Coordinator Road Map
Today’s recycling coordinators wear many hats including education specialists, data managers, event planners, and school program coordinators, just to name a few. A committed recycling coordinator can affect captured recycling volume, increase participation, and reflect the county’s or city’s dedication to recycling. Studies show effective programs with continuous outreach can see volume increases of 10% or more.
However, this core skill set is something that is not taught in schools; it is typically gained with hands-on experience through a trial-and-error process.
Recently, RRS’ Florida team, Marissa Segundo, Barbara Heineken and Michael Timpane partnered with CDM Smith to create a comprehensive education tool – a recycling coordinator’s road map – to assist one Florida county to maximize their recycling potential.
The recycling coordinator is a perpetual problem-solver finding solutions to overcome recycling education and operational challenges. The recycling coordinator road map provides best practices for program success in several outreach and operational areas.
- Develop effective outreach and communications tactics through media, social media, advertisements, presentations, events, and community-based social marketing (CBSM) campaigns. It is essential to have ongoing, clear messages, flowing to residents, schools, county staff, and businesses to increase participation in recycling programs and create an overall awareness of waste and recycling.
- Build relationships and support with community leaders, related mission-based organizations and groups, city/county employees, businesses, schools, and other relevant stakeholders to increase engagement and extend the network to further the recycling messaging within the city or county.
- Create a network of community “recycling champions” and a structured volunteer program to build loyal recycling influencers from interested parties.
- Florida counties are tasked with reporting recycling data to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). It is imperative for the recycling coordinator to maintain annual recycling and landfill diversion data, identify missing tons, and develop systems to ensure data is being accurately tracked and reported.
- Provide technical assistance and information to support recycling initiatives in commercial and institutional sectors including program set-up, contracting for services, and outreach.
- Follow and understand local markets and match opportunities for more hard-to-recycle materials like C&D and organics.
- Establish school recycling programs to encourage waste diversion and recycling with students. School programs can help to reinforce the recycling habits at home.
Today’s recycling coordinators need to explore robust and measurable outreach efforts that result in incremental, long-lasting impact to meet recycling goals. That includes developing key performance indicators to monitor and measure milestones toward recycling goals with built-in flexibility to modify based on program needs. Recycling coordinators should actively search for resources that can support their effort to move their programs forward. This can be as simple as reaching out to nearby communities to learn from the experience of other programs or working with industry professionals to develop a recycling coordinator road map.