RAISING THE BAR
Success of a HHW collection program can be measured in many ways. “I personally believe each and every visit by a resident is by itself a success story,” said Harrell. His agency's program has grown an average of 23.5% over the past two fiscal years.
Several things can help make a HHW program in your municipality more of a success. First, support from elected officials and constituents must be in place. Elected officials may increase user or tipping fees, thus allowing the program to be funded. Constituents have to understand why a HHW program is important, and then buy into it.
Education also is important, and may come from many directions. Local or national organizations with events keyed toward waste or recycling can boost a program's response rate. Informational brochures or local TV station coverage can boost awareness of a one-day event or of a new drop-off location.
Simplicity of the program will encourage residents to participate—and not get confused. “Don't make it hard for your customers to do the right thing,” said Harrell. “Focus on providing convenient hours of operation in a central location. Don't be afraid to establish full-time HHW collection facilities.” By keeping regular hours at a drop-off site or by making curbside pickup a no-brainer, collection will increase.
If curbside collection is an option, educating the crew and training them to collect properly will improve collection rates. If paid competitively, you'll also find that staff turnover is lower and morale is higher.
Review the items that you can sell, trade, or exchange to help minimize disposal costs. According to a market research report from BCC Research, the global market for hazardous waste remediation technologies should rise from $10.7 billion last year to $11.4 billion this year. Recycling is a large portion of that market (15%), and is the fastest-growing market segment at a projected average annual growth rate of 19%.
Finally, by co-locating drop-off sites with a solid waste or recycling facility, more residents are apt to dispose of HHW properly. This makes it easier on the public works or solid waste department—facility and personnel resources are shared at one site. Plus, residents just have one place to visit when dropping off all their recycling.
“Every city should have a program like this,” said Freedland about HHW collection programs.