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California’s once-proud recycling reputation is in a tailspin

The big news:

California’s once-proud recycling reputation is in a tailspin. Recycling rates have fallen from 50 percent to 44 percent. About 35 million tons of garbage were dumped into landfills in 2016, up from 29.3 million tons in 2012.

Why it matters: The state’s goal of reaching a 75 percent recycling rate by next year is slipping away.

Ratepayers want to recycle! People have been educated, understand and largely “buy-in” to the importance of recycling and have adapted their behavior to attempt to recycle…but only to the old model.

THE PROBLEM: Only 1.5% of Californians know what can be placed in their recycling bin(s): The good news is we know from my firm’s ongoing research that:

1. Messaging (education) can be relatively simple 2. There are highly effective message platforms

But every region is unique…and every message tests differently in every region.

To effectively change awareness and behavior requires research (focus groups and polling) and of course strategic, outbound public education.

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