Roanoke, VA – In June, the City of Roanoke launched a multi-channel awareness campaign to inform and engage residents in a conversation about recent changes to the region’s recycling program. Reaching 76,000 people through social media and resulting in more than 11,000 likes, comments, and shares in just two months, the campaign achieved top marks by the Public Relations Society of America.
“We wanted to create a visually-driven campaign that distilled a complex topic into a simple idea: that recycling and trash don’t belong together,” said Whitney Slightham, the City of Roanoke's Citizen Engagement Officer. “From there, we were able to start a broader dialogue about reducing, reusing, and recycling in our community.”
Evaluated by public relations professionals in a Michigan-based PRSA chapter, Roanoke’s communication strategy was awarded a 2018 Gold Summit Award in the public relations campaign category. The campaign began in June and ran through the summer. The City mailed postcards, distributed flyers, did media outreach, and placed ads on social media, buses, and billboards.
After meeting with the City’s recycling vendor in the spring, staff became aware of upcoming changes to the region’s recycling program. Plastics numbered three through seven would no longer be accepted, and the City also needed to take action to help reduce recycling contamination. Recycling contamination occurs when non-recyclable materials, such as plastic bags or food waste, are placed in the recycling bin instead of the trash bin.
“The city is proud of its recycling program and we want it to be a success,” said Nell Boyle, the City’s Sustainability Coordinator. “We still have work to do, but this award shows that we’re moving in the right direction.”
For information about the City’s recycling program, please contact Nell Boyle, Sustainability Coordinator, at [email protected] or 540-853-5430.