We need your help in getting people to recycle more!

I recently spent a few evenings in St. Petersburg, FL posting our ecycler posters. To post posters in your own community, all you’ll need are:

  1. Posters printed preferably in color on recycled paper.
  2. Thumbtacks
  3. Green Transportation: a bicycle or hybrid/high mpg vehicle
  4. Internet access before you go
  5. Phone
ecycler Marketing Poster
ecycler Marketing Poster - PDF 180KB

Before heading out from the hotel I used maps.google.com to make a list of businesses that I know have community boards or are very likely to have community boards where posters can be posted. The following franchise businesses usually have community boards: Starbucks, Panera Bread, Jimmy Johns and Whole Foods. I made a list of these and called each to find out if they have a community board. Panera and Jimmy Johns all had boards and did not have restrictions. About half of the Starbucks had community boards, though some only allow non-profit organizations to post. Some of their boards even say “This board is for information, not for selling stuff,” so keep that in mind for your cause. With ecycler posters, Starbucks managers were cool about it. When I explained that the purpose of the poster is to let people know about ecycler and how they can create their own recycling program or list their recyclables, the managers approved the posters.

The other category of business that usually has community boards are independent coffee shops and organic grocery stores (as well as some regular grocery stores). I called three of the coffee shops and all three had community boards or allowed posting in the window. The Whole Foods and organic grocery stores also had boards.

The next step was to create an optimal route (for the engineers out there creating an optimal travel route is the classic operations research problem called TSP or Traveling Salesperson Problem). I used the website: http://gebweb.net/optimap/. It allows you to add up to 24 addresses and create a round trip optimal travel route. The site will list the order in which you should go to the stores to minimize travel time. If you are going on a trip from one city to another you can choose A-Z which then optimally determines which places to go. But since I my start and end point was my hotel I needed the round trip choice.

I saved my list to my blackberry and headed out. Starbucks stores usually have magnets so you don’t need a tack, but other places may or may not have tacks. As you are posting posters you will see and meet interesting people. I got several questions when I was posting the posters and had some good conversations about recycling!

So you may want to know if it worked. A week after posting 12 we had one person interested and people visited the site! When I returned to Florida two weeks later, I visited some of the locations where I posted posters and found that people had torn off the tabs that direct them to ecycler.com.