Thursday, January 29, 2009

When a dog can make a difference and a flower will bring spring

It is almost a week since I am trying to figure out a topic for my marketing research project. I used to be full of ideas in the past, but lately I felt uncomfortable with the concept of selling stuff to people that got in trouble for buying to much of it. (1) If the weather would be nice , at least I could walk the streets looking for a sign from the marketing muse. But it snows stubbornly, so I stay home and wander from blog to blog...from memory to memory...and let myself slide softly to 1999... to 1942...Yes, there it is: If a dog can make a difference, than so can "we the people".

The borough I am living in right now started to promote re-cycling more and more. But mainly how much and how you recycle is up to you. I notice that some of my neighbours do a pretty good job at it while some others... I am often one of the others.Mainly because I am busy, unorganized and forgetful, but also because I am less Eco-oriented than I should probably be.

Actually I hadn't done much serious recycling since 1999 - Tuebingen, Germany. The one reason - they organized it all for me. The kitchen/living area in the dormitory had labeled garbage cans for different items: paper, plastic, cans, glass etc. And even the main garbage containers outside had their separate compartments. It was so easy it became a second nature...
Here I had been able to figure out how to recycle paper without having to remember the rubber bands only after I seen a neighbour putting them in a paper bag. (You can not put the papers in plastic bags and there is no specific container for that). And since recycling becomes such a hassle I sometimes just give it up...

Thus I decided I am going to do my research on recycling -that is social marketing.

My issue would be something like : how to make recycling more convenient so we can all benefit -individuals and society equally.

And here is where I need your help (again) . Do you have any ideas? Does your community recycle? If it does how is everything organized?

(1) I had been thinking about my discussion with Julie on branding and the more I thought the more I felt that tempting young people into buying a brand or another is not want I'd like to do right now...

13 comments:

botesteanu said...

you already know that my community doesn't recycle. we didn't learn enough to do anything but place special trash cans on the corner of the street.
which is kinda cool, because it hurts the city's image a lot. it's all legislature, not so much corporate social responsibility. or social marketing, for that matter.
it might also be a good excuse for you to address the missing bucharest feeling :P

Paul said...

We have two bins, one for recyclables and one for stuff that can't be. It's all organised by the local council and takes most of the though out of it. Branding is not a bad thing, you can take the skills you have learned there and apply them to this project. Advertising and social activism have the same agenda, changing people's behaviours.

Annamari said...

Andrei,
I know that but I was not expecting a first reply from your community. And that is in itself an improvement. I do not know how bad do those garbage cans look, but I know it can be worse – like those piles of trash on the pavement just next to the can.
Maybe we shall make a poster about recycling? And see how long it does survive in the elevator?
I have a story about trash, garbage cans and the summer of ’99.I should try to tell it –though you got to be from Bucharest to get it.
Paul,
We have two bins as well. It is just that the recyclable bin requires an organized person for proper recycling because if you mix glass and cans and paper it just does not work. Social marketing is just marketing but for a better cause – or at least we do imagine that it is for a better cause.But you got to know me by now - organized social activism is never going to be my thing, because I do not want to change anyone but me...

Crafty Green Poet said...

We have recycling bins on our streets - for paper and, separately, for packaging (cardboard and plastics). There is a bottle bank in the carpark of the supermarket across the road. A lot of people recycle but nowhere near enough though rates in Scotland have increased from around 6% 10 years ago to around 30% now (Don't quote me on those figures!). I am amazed by how many people will leave cardboard in the rubbish bin which is just next to the recycling bin. We have a logn way to go. I like the German approach, it can't have been that difficult to organise and it is so helpful. In some areas of the UK it is more like that I think but not here in Edinburgh!

Annamari said...

Juliet,
I appreciate your input. I am looking for ideas and you are definitely more "green” than I am.
I think it is a slow process, but I believe that if we can convince people to buy useless stuff we might convince them to recycle as well.
And my issue is convenience. I mean in the borough I am living in the message is : ok if you want to get out of your way -6 miles from here there is paper collecting spot. Well I don’t drive so I can not get there. Or ‘ in the recycling bin you can put so many plastic bottles, so many glass bottles and these many cans , please place paper separately tighten with a rubber band”. With my crazy schedule I am not going to sit there and count cans and bottles. Plus that open box they call a recycling bin is going to be left put by my teen in freezing cold –and there goes my recycling effort. So well maybe we can meet in-between. I promise I won’t throw cardboard in the rubbish bin…

to-morrow said...

No, my community doesn't care too much about recycling. Remember, I'm living in Bucharest :)! I think it is perceived rather as a trendy action nowadays, some ngos try to do their best but people...
A "wind of change", however: when you buy something, the seller doesn't give you a plastic bag for free, as he used to do. Maybe it's a start...

Annamari said...

To.

Yes. Andrei did remind me. but if you notice Juliet's comment the focus changes on how do we make them recycle.Any ideas?

to-morrow said...

We do have different recycling bins (for plastic, cardboard and glass) in some areas but I'm afraid people don't use them properly.
A campaign could work, at local level. Maybe some couloured signs applied to the bins. Inconsiderate neighbours should be fined. Local administration should take into account some penalties.

Annamari said...

Yes. People should be made aware of the fact that they have the option to recycle. Penalties and fines might work but good ol' marketing strategies are even better. If we can convince people to by Nike and not Adidas, we can also convince people to recycle…

earthwalker said...

I can't recycle in Pittsburgh, there are no separate garbage bins at our building:( they are outside, and the paper would probably get wet anyway. I put aside clothes and things for goodwill, this is all I can do. And we du recycle at work.

Annamari said...

You are right there, the city does not recycle. I live in the suburbs this why we get the separate bin. But since the bin is nothing more than an open box you can not recycle paper unless the weather is nice anyways.
There is a group called freecycle were you can list itmes such as books that you do not use any longer (not cans and such)

Your work place seems more recycling friendly than mine...

Julie said...

Sorry I'm coming late to the discussion...I've been on the road. But if you're still looking for input, convenience was a big factor in getting people in our town to recycle. Instead of making a lot of rules about how to do it, people were asked to put all recyclables into one bin. Then volunteers were recruited to separate the recyclables. A lot of people separated items on their own, but it also prompted people who wouldn't recycle otherwise.

The town also advertised and recruited school kids to "educate" their parents. Getting the kids excited about it really helped a lot.

I love your project ideas. Another great post!

Annamari said...

Julie,

thanks for the input.