- San Jose, CA has been experimenting with a combination of targeted mail and enforcement approaches which it says could help reduce illegal dumping of large items, as reported by Route Fifty.
- Using a design from the U.K.-based Behavioural Insights Team, the city's Environmental Services Department (ESD) sent out two different mailers to a group of residents as part of a larger marketing campaign. One postcard noted that it costs the city $87 per incident of illegal dumping and the other told residents they'd been selected for a free large item removal.
- Compared to a control group which received no mailer, the costs postcard increased large item collections by 75% and the offer postcard increased them by 150%.
ESD currently offers free pickups for up to three items such as sofas or mattresses twice per year, but illegal dumping is still an issue in the city. This experiment took place from April through June around the same time that cameras were installed and the city council increased fines to $10,000 for repeat offenders. Three groups of 3,000 California Waste Solutions customers were targeted for each approach.
The city said that the "You've Been Selected" approach was the most successful because it made residents feel special and engaged them. Sending the cards in English, Spanish and Vietnamese also helped broaden the reach.
ESD said at least one hauler has continued using the message and the city is looking at other outreach options. While penalties and enforcement are necessary parts of any waste mitigation plan this shows that customer engagement is important too. As seen with the recently launched website Neat Streets, anti-litter methods can be much more creative than writing tickets.