- Niagara Falls now has a 17% diversion rate - a 50% increase over last year - and has also reduced waste sent to landfills.
- This comes after a surprisingly effective marketing campaign starring a person dressed in a goat costume named "Totes McGoats."
- The city also limits refuse collection to one 64-gallon container per week and now has 96-gallon recycling containers for bi-weekly collection. A part-time employee goes around and gives warnings to residents who are violating city rules.
The Investigative Post contrasts the success of this $100 goat costume to Buffalo's $90,000 education campaign and finds money doesn't always matter. While Buffalo residents did recycle a record tonnage of materials last year, the city's overall curbside diversion rate is still 14%. The city also didn't have a recycling coordinator until 2013.
While it can be hard to compare Niagara Falls to a city nearly five times its size, it's clear that a more creative approach can yield better results. Buffalo spent money on billboards and tried to engage people through standard social media tactics. Whereas Totes McGoats became an online sensation without nearly as much effort.
Brook D'Angelo, the city's recycling coordinator, has a background in marketing and knew she was on to something once the idea came to mind.
"I had this strongest feeling of butterflies, I think a whole colony, because just from showing it to my friends and coworkers, they would immediately laugh and no one had ever seen anything like it," she said.