Case Study: L.A. Recycles - Multi-Family Residential Recycling Program
The L.A. Recycles project was a pilot program for the City of Los Angeles to introduce recycling to residents of multi-family buildings. Currently in the City of Los Angeles recycling is offered through the City only to residents of single family units; residents of condominiums and apartments are not offered this service through the Cityís waste management. Rather building management must contract with a separate waste hauler in order to provide recycling. As a result, very few multi-residential buildings offer recycling. Strategy Workshop, Inc., was contracted by the City to design, implement and market a new multi-family recycling initiative designed to encourage apartment and condominium residents to participate in recycling programs. The program included a multi-family residential canvassing effort that would advance the recycling initiative by increasing the recycling efforts of residents. D.S.O. was subcontracted by Strategy Workshop as the Latino outreach firm to assist in the canvassing program. Multiple subcontractors worked together on the project, with D.S.O. providing strategic assistance both culturally and linguistically for the teams with the Latino community.


D.S.O. provided a bilingual Spanish/English team that consisted of a Program Coordinator who would interface with Strategy Workshop and oversee administrative issues, a Project Manager who would be responsible for oversight of canvassers in the field, and a minimum of 4 Canvassers. Strategy Workshop worked with landlords, building owners, managers and waste haulers to garner participation in the program. Buildings from diverse areas of the City were enrolled in the program in order to gauge city wide acceptance of the program. The approach was geared towards zip code areas, including areas of the San Fernando Valley, the Hollywood and Los Feliz areas, and South Central Los Angeles. Once enrolled, Strategy Workshop and building management coordinated a date for the D.S.O. canvassing team to visit the building residents to provide them with information and instructions regarding the program. The Canvassers would enter the building, visit each unit, explain the program, encourage the resident to participate in the program, and provide the resident with program materials. Each contact was documented, and residents were asked to voluntarily provide contact information for future follow up.

Strategy Workshop supplied program materials including recycling bins, DVD with program information, a tote bag, various promotional items, informational brochures, coupons and discounts to local retailers in the neighborhood. The D.S.O. team was given the responsibility of assembling all program materials for distribution.

This program was entirely voluntarily for each resident; they were not required to participate in the program. The outcome of the project would be used to measure the feasibility of the City expanding the program and offering recycling on a large scale to multi-residential buildings throughout the City. It quickly became clear that D.S.O. canvassers would need to not only educate residents regarding the pilot program, but in fact educate them regarding recycling itself. Many residents had never recycled before and required a deeper explanation and understanding of recycling and itís importance to the region and the environment in order to become motivated to participate. Additionally, there was a large number of immigrant residents and monolingual Spanish speakers, so cultural nuances were also an important aspect of the approach. D.S.O. canvassers quickly became adept at determining the most successful approach for an individual and achieved an 85-90% success rate of enrolling residents into the program as a result of contact.

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