- In order for Dallas to reach its long-term goal of zero waste, the city has a benchmark to divert 40% of waste by 2020. Yet the rate is currently stuck at 21%, according to the Sanitation Services Department.
- Social media efforts have been increased to help get city residents up to speed. The Dallas Zero Waste Division released a "sorting game" app that allows residents to practice waste diversion in a fun way. A department manager also told the Dallas Morning News that their Twitter and Facebook pages are monitored 18 hours a day.
- Other efforts to double the diversion rate by 2020 include constructing a new MRF that will be open to the public for tours and educational experiences, and may also include a city ordinance to require recycling.
The biggest challenge of any city's zero waste plan is getting consumers on-board with participation and compliance. Currently, while residents in Dallas need education, many still need blue bins — 20% of Dallas households don't have a recycling bin due to the fact that recycling is a voluntary program, according to Zero Waste Division manager Murray Myers, as reported in the Morning News. The city must work on making residents understand why recycling is important before they can expect any voluntary improvement.
That's why Dallas' use of social media is so important. In this era of digital messaging, social media is a much more reliable way to convey a message to the community than paper notices. Additionally, by making the social media fun and engaging like in the "sorting game" app, Dallas is creating a sense of enjoyment among users which will hopefully pay off in real-life practices.
The construction of Dallas' new MRF is also a step in the right direction for the city. Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) will build and operate the $20 million site, and once it opens in January, Dallas will have an abundance of new opportunities to show the city the importance of waste diversion and recycling.