The 1 : 5 : 50 Rule for Recycling Communication*

29 Oct 2015

When it comes to education, it’s tempting to make the most of every opportunity to address every detail of what, when, where and how to recycle. But honestly, only a few folks would welcome that level of detail. Most would feel overwhelmed. To keep your outreach at the right level of detail, just remember 1 : 5 : 50.








Level 1: What’s your main goal? Participation? Safety? Hit that one most important topic at Level 1, and carry it through all of your communications. This could be as simple as “Recycle” paired with your town seal and website. Attach it to all of your public-facing materials. Resist the urge to tell the whole story. Let your brand stand alone in places like billboards and bus ads.

Level 5: What are the 3 to 5 basic details that all residents need to understand? Level 5 is the spot to cover the categories of materials you accept, along with very simple preparation and set out instructions. Here, you’re boiling down program specifics to their essence. Residents can count the key details on one hand, making those details approachable and more easily remembered. Level 5 is a great fit for postcards, magnets, oops tags, IMLs, and some advertisements.

 Level 50: Here’s the place to get nitty-gritty. Funnel residents here when they need more drilled-down information. Cover specific materials on your YES and NO list, special waste, and drop off programs. Level 50 is likely housed on your website, though if your residents prefer something more tangible also consider a printed annual guide

*The information contained in this post is a "Pro-Tip" from The Recycling Partnership.