Collective Summary


Multicultural Community Outreach
Multicultural Community Outreach

Multicultural Community Outreach

Expanded outreach to Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese communities, tripling the number of customers reached through community events.

In 2014-2015, Waste Management began outreach at key Spanish-speaking events in Snohomish County, and was able to engage with more than 800 customers. In 2016-2017, Waste Management extended its reach beyond Spanish-speaking audiences to explore opportunities to reach Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese-speaking audiences in Snohomish County. These additional language groups represent the top languages spoken in the county.

To effectively reach these four communities and adapt to a variety of event spaces, Waste Management developed a portable, multilingual sorting game. The engagement tool featured magnetic labels that enabled the team to adapt the game's language to the event's audience and use game pieces representing disposable items with cultural significance to each community.

Waste Management participated in a total of 19 event days, reaching 2,333 customers with information about recycling, including 833 Chinese-speakers, 468 Vietnamese-speakers, 815 Korean-speakers and 844 Spanish-speakers. For better promotion, Waste Management incorporated a media component to advertise events. Waste Management partnered with El Rey 1360, a popular Regional Mexican radio station, and Radio Hankook, a Korean-language radio station, to promote grocery store events, and with Azteca América, a Spanish-language broadcast television network, to promote Waste Management's participation in Festival Afrolatino.

Snohomish County Outreach Events
Building on the success of 2014-2015 outreach at key Spanish-speaking events in Snohomish County, outreach events will take place in 2017 aimed at the Latino, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese communities. Planning for this outreach took place in 2016, including developing a new interactive recycling game with better portability and multilingual capabilities than past booth activities. Snohomish County's 2017 events will be held at grocery stores specializing in Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese products. These venues were selected since they are popular destinations for the target audiences and provide locations suitable for winter events. H-Mart, a popular grocery store in the Korean community, and Ranch 99, a grocery store and restaurant frequented by the Chinese and Vietnamese communities, were selected as ideal venues.

New multilingual recycling event outreach

Multicultural Outreach
Waste Management conducted targeted door-to-door outreach to multicultural multifamily properties (MMP) in Snohomish County in late 2015. The goal for this work was to better serve non-English speaking communities in Snohomish County and address language barriers that hamper effective recycling on multifamily properties.

Waste Management provided recycling information in eight languages and provided multilingual tote bags. In addition, waste audits of recycling and garbage containers were performed and new decals (which were both photo based and multilingual) were applied when appropriate. Multilingual staff went door-to-door at targeted properties to speak with residents about recycling and to distribute educational materials, including recycling tote bags. In total, outreach staff visited 29 properties and went door-to-door at 3,343 units. Residents and property managers reported appreciating the multilingual outreach, and were especially appreciative of the recycling tote bags.

For approximately 20 percent of all the residents that received door-to-door outreach, English was not their primary language. The outreach was delivered in seven languages, Amharic, Arabic, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Tigrigna and Vietnamese. A total of 13 languages were identified when going door-to-door including the seven languages mentioned before, as well as Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Hindi, Indonesian and Tagalog.

Hispanic Events 2014 - 2015

With more than 10 percent of the population in King County identifying as Hispanic/Latino according to the Census 2010, Waste Management team decided in 2014 to expanded its series of summer events to include the Latino community.

The work began with the 2014 Fiestas Patrias at Seattle Center where the team engaged with the Hispanic/Latino residents in King County and participated in the South Park community parade in partnership with the Facilitadores de Reciclaje from King County's Solid Waste Division. Fiestas Patrias is one of the largest events for the Latino community, held during Hispanic Heritage month. This provided an opportunity for Spanish-language customers to ask questions and gather the latest tools and resources for increasing recycling and composting at home. This event attracts an estimated 18,000 attendees over the course of two days and the parade garners 1,000 spectators in South Park. Waste Management created an interactive game for the event, a Spanish-language recycling information station that encouraged families and children to place items in the proper bin-recycle, compost, garbage - in 30 seconds, providing a hands-on learning opportunity. At the event, attendees were also asked to take a pledge to hang the Spanish-language guidelines in their homes where everyone can see them and use the guide to properly sort their items. Three winners were selected among those that pledged and received gift cards to grocery stores. Waste Management engaged with more than 250 event attendees; as a result, 82 families took the pledge and 88 tote bags and 264 guidelines were handed out.

In 2015, the Waste Management Spanish-language Recycling Information Station engaged families and children in a 30-second hands-on learning opportunity to show how to properly sort waste into recycling, compost and garbage bins. Summer events kicked off at Fiesta Premio Esmeralda, an iconic and well-recognized Latino community event hosted by Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington. In July, the team engaged with attendees at Hispanic Seafair, which attracted a very diverse group of Latino community members. Finally, Waste Management participated once again in Fiestas Patrias. Across the three events in 2015, Waste Management conducted one-on-one outreach with more than 800 people, 786 families received a tote bag and nearly 300 Latino people played the Recycling Information Station's interactive sorting game. Additionally, 463 people pledged to use the Spanish guidelines at home to recycle right and recycle often. The 62 percent pledging to recycle more and use the tools provided is an incredible increase from 33 percent in 2014.

Targeted Outreach in Diverse Communities

TV and radio spots played on local television and radio outlets.

Waste Management teams distributed bilingual recycling guides and collected 281 pledges to increase recycling participation among the Hispanic/Latino community.

The Spanish page on Waste Management Northwest's website has experienced a six-fold increase in web traffic in the first three months of the website's launch.

After participants filled out this recycling pledge form at community events, they were entered to win a Fred Meyer gift card.

Read our Spanish In-Person Focus Groups Report developed by Alehandro Paredes.

Create an outreach and education campaign targeting Hispanic/Latino residents to increase recycling and decrease contamination.

In 2012, Waste Management partnered with King and Snohomish Counties to create a plan targeting residential populations aimed at raising awareness around and increase recycling rates in the two counties. One primary objective in the Plan was to design and implement outreach in the Hispanic/Latino community. To perform the outreach, the team created a Spanish-language outreach campaign, updated the bilingual recycling instructions, and increased access and usability of the Waste Management Northwest website.

In order to develop a Spanish-language recycling campaign using traditional media, the team developed an engaging and memorable PSA that focuses on the "what" of recycling. Research informed the team that Spanish-language residents would be receptive to a television and radio PSA campaign, and Puget Sound Spanish-language residents would value a PSA with cultural nuances with nods to Mexican music and culturally relevant images. The TV and radio spots were played on local television and radio outlets.

Recycling education
After updating the bilingual recycling instructions, Waste Management attended three of the most popular Spanish-language community events in the Puget Sound area: Hispanic Seafair at Seattle Center, Fiesta Sunday at the Evergreen State Fair, and Fiestas Patrias at the Seattle Center. Creating an education booth and outreach team, the presence at these events was the first of its kind for Waste Management in the Puget Sound area. At each event, the outreach team had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of members of the community and distribute more than 200 bilingual recycling guides. The team collected 281 pledges to increase recycling awareness from the Hispanic community. Staffers working the Waste Management booth for each event spoke Spanish. They came to the team with community outreach experience and were trained in recycling education and the Hispanic audience.

Website content
Waste Management updated its customer website to make it easier to navigate and find information. Part of this process was to create an additional Spanish page on Waste Management Northwest's website, which has experienced a six-fold increase in web traffic in the first three months of the website's launch. Next, Waste Management designed and implemented an independent assessment of the website to determine if web content and information was being presented in a way the audience found useful and understandable. King and Snohomish County solid waste staff also reviewed the website to provide feedback and a total of four focus groups (two in English and two in Spanish) were conducted to get direct feedback on the site. As a result of participants' feedback, Waste Management added a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to the website to answer common questions.

Customer service phone line
Following the launch of the campaign, Waste Management saw a spike in the number of calls to their Spanish-language customer service phone line. To better prepare customer service reps to talk about recycling in Spanish (not all are native Spanish speakers), the team conducted an in-person training with customer service representatives at Waste Management's call center in Oak Harbor, WA.

Facebook and social media
Hispanics are early adopters of technology and fuel a large part of the growth of the tech sector, representing a third of the new consumer base. For example, in 2010 43% of Hispanics had a smartphone and that number rose to 57% in 2012. Smartphones and mobile phones serve as primary access to internet and social media platforms for Hispanic consumers.

There are over 7 million Spanish-language dominant Facebook users in the US. More than 80% of Hispanics indicated they socialize digitally on Facebook, 37% on Myspace, 24% on Twitter and 8% on Linkedin. Hispanics use social networks for more than socializing-26% use social networks to obtain information such as reviews and ratings, 24% viewed live stream, 22% used social media to search for a job, 18% to make purchases and behavioral decisions based on recommendations, among other activities. Because of their diverse use of social networks, implementing social media marketing has become a powerful tool in expanding and sharing one's message with the Hispanic audience.

In Washington, Hispanic media and their social media pages on Facebook have served as an information hub for residents in Washington. Recognizing its power to disseminate information, Waste Management partnered with these digital outlets to share information on recycling with the public. A series of tips that were culturally relevant to the audience in Washington State were posted on Facebook and served to encourage and educate the Hispanic audience on the importance of recycling and tips on how they could better recycle. The messages surrounding the "how" and "why" they should recycle complemented the PSA TV and radio spot that were focused on the "What" to recycle.

Waste Management worked to develop a paid partnership with Spanish-language media outlets in the area including Univision/KUNS on the TV side and La Gran D/KDDS and El Rey/KKMO on the radio side. These stations consistently rank as top stations with this audience. The partnership included producing a :30 TV spot, a :60 radio spot, opportunities to promote recycling at community events, social media, and editorial opportunities to share recycling messages. The TV and radio spots ran from August to November and editorial opportunities and community events worked to support them.

  • Waste Management had 21 Facebook posts that ran on a combination of the local television and radio stations' Facebook pages garnering more than 64,000 impressions. The posts relayed information about Waste Management Spanish-language customer service tools, what can and cannot be recycled, and landfill information.

    2 posts ran on KUNS-TV's Facebook page
    6 posts ran on KDDS-FM's Facebook page
    13 posts ran on KKMO-AM's Facebook page

  • Waste Management's TV and radio advertising campaign garnered more than 777,000 impressions. Response from the Hispanic community to the campaign was tremendous. Community members commented on how catchy the jingle was and how the music was very Hispanic-minded yet new and fresh. They also said that the spots helped them learn what is recyclable and what is not. Others mentioned that the Hispanic/Latino products featured in the spot are products that they use at home which made it easier to identify what are recyclables and non-recyclables. The spot is humorous and funny, yet educational and informative, making recycling seem easy and fun.

  • Waste Management received six earned media opportunities that garnered more than 27,000 impressions and is valued at more than $11,000.

    KUNS TV 3 minute interview on the "what" of recycling aired on October 3
    KKMO AM 30 minute interview on the basics of recycling aired on October 13
    KDDS FM 2 minute interview on the "what" of recycling aired on October 15 and 22
    KKMO AM 30 minute interview on organics recycling aired on November 10
    KUNS TV 2 minute segment on the "why" of recycling aired on November 15
    KUNS TV 2 minute segment on Waste Management's Cascade Recycling Center aired on November 16

  • At community outreach events, like Hispanic Seafair, Waste Management teams distributed bilingual recycling guides and collected 281 pledges to increase recycling participation among the Hispanic/Latino community. The pledge was used as an engagement tool to interact with the public at community events. We asked people to identify which items pictured were recyclable or not, which followed the format of the PSAs. After identifying the recyclables, participants were asked to pick one of the following pledges: to share the recycling guide with friends and family, post the recycling guidelines at home, or just recycle more. By signing the pledge participants were eligible to win a Fred Meyer gift card.

  • A total of four focus groups (two in English and two in Spanish) were conducted to get direct feedback on the site, 38 participants attended the focus groups. Focus group surveys were designed to determine what updates can be made to the existing Waste Management Northwest website to make it easier to navigate and find recycling-related content that is relevant and useful to English and Spanish speakers.

Partnering with local Spanish media outlets was an effective way to reach this audience. The media partners were interested and engaged on the topic, and we were able to get good value for the money spent, including several on-air news segments on both radio and television, which was tremendous added value to our media buy. This type of partnership should be pursued in the future.

Using research from a survey and workshops in King County the team had several major takeaways to help shape the PSA campaign. First, 43% of local Hispanics are watching Spanish-language TV more than English-language TV. Second, local Hispanics identify listening to Mexican music as their favorite type of music. Third, although most Hispanics identify as recyclers their degree of participation was low and in-language recycling information was hard to find. Thus, recycling felt complicated due to lack of knowledge on what to recycle, how to recycle and why to recycle. To counteract these concerns, keeping the ad concept as simple as possible proved to be very successful. The team created a catchy jingle and used products that the Spanish-speaking audience uses at home, which was effective at catching their attention.

It is necessary to have a Spanish-language section of the website. Spanish speakers have a difficult time navigating and understanding the English website. In 2013, Waste Management will add additional Spanish pages to its site.

Latino Outreach Research Pilot
Latino Outreach Pilot

Latino Outreach Pilot

In 2017, Waste Management conducted a pilot tailored to Latino residents in single-family homes in Snohomish County to test different recycling education outreach methods amongst Spanish-speaking, single-family residents. Waste Management approached the pilot through a behavior change perspective, with the goal of identifying which outreach method are most effective at shifting participants' behavior.

The pilot kicked off with a survey sent to all 2,308 Spanish-speaking Waste Management customers in Snohomish County unincorporated areas to learn about their recycling behavior. The survey received 282 responses and revealed that the vast majority of these customers already engage in recycling behavior, but also uncovered an area of opportunity to emphasize to residents which materials are recyclable.

The 282 survey respondents were sorted into four test groups, and over the course of a month WM tested four outreach strategies on these pilot participants: advertising, texting, mail-in tools and door-to-door outreach. After testing these outreach methods, Waste Management sent a follow-up survey to measure changes in participants' behavior and outreach recall. Of the 150 customers who responded to the follow-up survey, 32% reported a shift in their behavior: in the past 30 days, they did not place any recyclable items in the garbage.

Through the pilot, WM learned that direct mail and TV advertising had the highest impacts on behavior change, with 40% and 30% of participants recalling these outreach methods and respectively shifting their behavior. Additionally, through surveys and follow-up interviews, WM learned that customers want to know more detailed information about priority recyclables, particularly paper and plastic. These insights helped inform the Odes to Recycling campaign and will continue to guide efforts to reach the Spanish-speaking community.

2017 study tests the effectiveness of various outreach methods with Latino customers in Snohomish County.

"Odes to Recyclables" Spanish Language Education Campaign
Odes to Recyclables Spanish Language Education Campaign

Odes to Recyclables Spanish Language Education Campaign

Waste Management leveraged insights from its Latino Outreach Pilot to develop a Spanish language education campaign to inform residents about deeper recycling best practices in a culturally relevant way. Inspired by the work of Pablo Neruda and his Odes to everyday elements, the "Odas al reciclaje" or "Ode to recyclables" campaign pays homage to recyclable plastics, paper and cans that can be re-born again for the benefit of the planet and future generations.

Waste Management worked together with local writers and poets through the Seattle Escribe organization, local design company Caracas Stencil Design, and musicians Jorge Vazquez Fourlong and Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana to create this creative campaign. Waste Management and Seattle Escribe coordinated a contest for writers to submit entries that would serve as the foundation of the campaign. From more than 100 entries, a winner was picked for each of the four odes categories: Oda al papel/Ode to paper; Oda al plåstico/Ode to plastic, Oda a la lata/Ode to the can," and a combined Oda al reciclaje/Ode to Recycling.

The campaign launched in December 2017, featuring four public service announcement videos, four radio ads and a printed direct mail recycling guide. Waste Management also updated its Spanish language website: to feature the new education campaign and additional recycling best practices resources.

To promote the Odes, a comprehensive six-week Spanish media and digital ad campaign also ran across Univision Seattle, La Gran D and Tu Familia radio stations as well as Google/YouTube, Facebook, Pandora and KING 5. In addition, a number of Spanish broadcast interviews on the campaign featuring the Odes writers took place in January 2018 and the education campaign continued through February 2018.

WM launches new recycling campaign created by and for the Latino community.

Distribution of Transcreated Multilingual Materials
Multilingual Materials

Multilingual Materials

In 2015, Waste Management transcreated recycle, compost and garbage guides in Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Somali and Vietnamese. These materials make sorting waste much easier for the diverse communities of Snohomish county, but only when they have easy access to them! In 2017, WM reached out to a variety of organizations who work with these communities to partner in distributing materials. More than 600 guides were distributed through partnerships with WSU Extension and Familias Unidas.

More than 600 guides distributed through partnerships!

Multilingual Materials

Transcreated Materials
In 2014, Waste Management, King County and Snohomish County launched a transcreation project to develop in-language garbage, recycling and compost guidelines that are appealing and culturally relevant to populations who speak: Amharic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hindi, Korean, Russian, Somali and Vietnamese in King and Snohomish Counties, excluding Seattle.

The purpose of the project is to better communicate Waste Management service guidelines to more community members. To accomplish this, Waste Management, along with King and Snohomish Counties, recruited native speakers to help with the project to ensure the Waste Management signage was culturally relevant. The transcreation model for this project was:

  1. Research and Planning: The research and planning phase included copy-editing and redesigning of the original source content (copy, images and layout) of the guidelines, researching and evaluating word choice and identifying culturally relevant images.
  2. Usability Testing: Usability tests were conducted in a two-phase process over four days. First, four to six individuals from households within each language group were recruited to receive and utilize the in-language guidelines for three days while doing a simple three-day, in-home exercise. On the fourth day, a moderation team interviewed one participant from each household on their experience.
  3. Modifications: At this stage, the results were compiled into a set of actionable directives intended to optimize the effectiveness of the guidelines. These directives then led to changes in copy, images and design, and were informed by the analysis.
  4. Community Review: The community members or "returning" participants were asked to provide any high-level feedback of the copy, images and layout. In all, the transcreation project produced two sets of in-language guidelines for the seven language communities as well as two sets of corresponding English back translated guidelines for each county. This is a total of 90 individual documents produced with new, culturally relevant messaging.

Improve Multicultural Access to Recycling

For many years, translating the English version of educational materials was the standard method used for providing recycling guidelines to English language learners. In 2014, Waste Management continued its work with TD Wang to improve the effectiveness of translated educational material using a process called "transcreation."

"Transcreation" is the multi-step process through which an original English message (i.e. text, images, layout and design) that was developed for an English-speaking audience is transformed into a culturally-relevant format for a specific ethnic community.

This process includes research, in-language planning, usability testing and back-translation. Research is done throughout the process and includes copy editing and redesigning of the original source content (copy, images and layout) of the guidelines, researching and evaluating word choice and identifying and evaluating culturally relevant images. To ensure effective usability testing, this step involves a team of cultural/language experts, community-based organizations, and bilingual moderators and note takers. Based on feedback received during the usability study interviews, the guidelines are updated with text, images and a format that is culturally appropriate and relevant. The final step of this process is to back-translate the new transcreated recycling guidelines into English, to ensure the intent of the key messages were not lost in the process. In total, new transcreated materials were developed for the Korean, Somali, Vietnamese, Hindi, Chinese, Amharic and Russian language communities — communities identified by the U.S. Census and American Community Survey to have the highest population of English language learners in King and Snohomish Counties. Each of the new transcreated sets includes culturally-relevant fliers for for garbage, recycling and compost bins.

2016 King County Behavior Study
King County Behavior Study

Download Graph - Acrobat Format

King County Behavior Study Target audiences and methodologies were identified for the Multicultural Behavior Study

The 2016 King County Behavior Study focused on researching the attitudes and behaviors of non-English speaking audiences. It builds on the 2013 Behavior Study in King and Snohomish Counties that determined the barriers and benefits to recycling specific materials among English-speaking residents.

To determine the language of focus for the study, the team analyzed Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and American Community Survey (ACS) data, mapping the language proficiency of residents, which determined that Spanish is the most widely spoken language outside of English.

With a clear priority audience, key research questions, potential study methodologies, and recruitment options were considered. After narrowing down to two recruitment strategies (hybrid double-concurrent recruitment and combined organization outreach) and weighing the feasibility of implementation of each strategy, , the team determined that community-based and faith-based organizations were likely to provide the best chance of recruiting the desired study participants.

Predictive demographic analysis revealed that the King County WUTC population is 4.9 percent Hispanic/Latino. Data from this analysis was used to create a map of where the potential audience resides. Based on this analysis, Waste Management concluded that the best locations for further audience analysis and future pilot studies will be in White Center and Renton.

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