September 2005

Communities encouraged to “Take it to the curb!"

Arlington, VA— The Aluminum Can Council (ACC), a coalition formed by The Aluminum Association and The Can Manufacturer’s Institute, unveiled the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), a national education campaign designed to grow participation in curbside programs and increase the amount of high value aluminum being captured.

“The aluminum industry is committed to working together to increase the recycling of used beverage cans,” said Craig Covert, marketing manager for Alcoa’s Rigid Packaging Division and a co-chair of the ACC. “Through this partnership, we are focusing on curbside programs because they provide the most opportunity. Curbside recycling is currently offered in more than half the communities in the country and it provides the easiest way for Americans to recycle.”

Two years in the making, the program brings together municipal recycling coordinators, materials recovery facility (MRF) operators, local officials and third parties to improve curbside recycling nationwide. Communities can opt-in to the Partnership and in exchange for access to research data, best practices, “Take it to the Curb!” communications templates, public relations council, and in some cases, direct funds, they agree to step-up communications efforts, highlight valuable commodities and share data that measures what results are achieved.

Through national consumer and municipal research; pilot programs in six communities including Kansas City, Orlando and Denver; analysis of successful programs nationwide and discussions with stakeholders, the ACC found that MRFs and municipalities can increase curbside participation and economic value in their curbside streams if they commit to work in collaboration to:

•Place an emphasis on sustained public communications to increase awareness and participation of their curbside programs;
•Encourage and facilitate the diligent recycling of high value materials, such as aluminum cans and paper and
•Report collection data on a tonnage and value basis to better determine where missed opportunities exist and where the revenue could be generated.

In Brevard County, Florida a three-month low-cost marketing and media push to residents in the form of fliers, magnets and public relations, resulted in a 6.8 percent increase in all recyclables and an increase in value of $70,000, which to a small community like Brevard County, was a significant return on investment. Over 132 percent of the money they invested in communications was returned in the form of increased recyclables, 14 percent of which was from aluminum alone. Additionally, a six-month marketing and media campaign in Orlando, Florida yielded a 1,000 percent increase in bin requests, all with little financial investment by the city.

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