Chart a Course for Communication

We know that communication is crucial to successful community solid waste management. But not all community leaders have training in how to communicate successfully.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) recently surveyed members of its Communication, Education & Marketing Technical Division (CEM.) Members reported that their training in communication, education, and marketing had mostly come from “the school of hard knocks.” When asked what topics should be included in training, “all of the above” best describes the responses — with interest in everything from strategic planning and public relations to educational programming and from social media to communicating across cultures.

“Lack of community understanding and motivation” was the job challenge most often cited, suggesting that behavior modification and consumer psychology would need to play a key role in new training programs.

A focus group was recently held during SWANApalooza in Reno. This brainstorming session resulted in many helpful suggestions that included blending future and existing communications channels, uploading topical how-to videos, creating a communications toolbox (especially as regards contamination and illegal dumping), exploring the role of enforcement as a communication tactic, offering a crash course for new communicators, harnessing existing apps and social media platforms, addressing jurisdictional challenges, and meeting the needs of mobile users.

You can help! Eco Partners president, Elizabeth Roe, serves as the current Director of the CEM Technical Division. Contact her at to learn more about communications training or to volunteer.

Photo credit: mindscanner | iStock | Getty Images Plus


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Eco Partners helps you deliver local environmental educational information – cost-effectively and efficiently. We do all the heavy lifting and you get all the credit.

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