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How to Target Certain Departments to Boost Reuse

Reuse program: Advanced, Easy wins, Action plans

“If you try to please everyone, you'll end up pleasing no one.” – Mae Mai

For those who have ever tried to make an organisational change, whether monumental or minuscule, you’ve probably faced the issue that the change you’d like to make is simply not relevant to everyone. At the same time, finding the exact people that you need to target can be incredibly difficult.

If you are facing this problem, you will be very grateful for an idea that came from Rachel Unwin at Nottingham Trent University.

 

Getting your hands on disposal request forms

Most non-reusing organisations will have a process for disposals, which goes something like this:

  1. The person throwing the item away calls the porters or estates
  2. They ask if the item can be collected and thrown away
  3. The porters or estates pick it up and do the dirty work
  4. The item goes off to landfill (not good)

 

Reusing organisations will function more like this:

  1. The person throwing the item away calls the porters or estates
  2. They ask if the item can be collected and thrown away
  3. They are told ‘Nope! You must list it on Warp It’ (if it’s in good condition)
  4. The item gets listed, claimed, and reused

 

We propose a little tweak

What you need to do is to find out, first and foremost, exactly where or who disposal requests are made to. Then, get in touch with that person or department.

You’re going to explain that you’re part of the reuse project and that you would like them to make a note every time a disposal request is made. If the disposal requests are legitimate and the items really cannot be reused, try and get access to those disposal forms. For all of the disposal requests that are instead directed to Warp It, get the person handling disposals to track what departments the requests are coming from. A simple tally chart would suffice.

 

Comparing the departments

The information collected by estates, porters, or whoever handles disposals, is going to be invaluable to your targeted reuse boost. Rachel from NTU told us that she collects the data once per month and she looks at which departments are making the most disposals. She then gives the department a call and speaks to the most senior person.

At this point you want to be friendly, explain the situation, what your goal is, what the problem is and how you’re going to try and solve it.

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How can you solve it?

Here are some great ideas:

  • Host an innovation workshop - Perhaps this department didn’t buy into reuse as they didn’t fully understand the benefits. Help them understand why your organisation wants to take reuse seriously.
  • Set up a meeting - If it’s a small department, get them all in a room and have a frank discussion, let them be honest about the problems or perceived barriers.
  • Make a presentation - Numbers and figures speak volumes. Use the data collected by Warp It to show carbon and waste avoided, the total amount saved, and more.
  • Give Warp It training - People might not be reusing because they don’t know how to reuse! Hold a Warp It training session with the department in question, or try one-to-one sessions for those who are not yet on the system.
  • Email communications - Talk to the IT or Communications team about their email platform and whether they can target certain departments. This will help you make the first contact regarding reuse.
  • Meet with head of departments - If you feel that your word might not be strong enough, try and get one-on-one meetings with heads of department, or even, bring them together, and ask them why there are so many disposal requests. Keep asking them questions until they admit that reuse is a great idea.

 

Relatability

By sending out email comms to the whole organisation, you’re going to miss out on the effect of targeting, you’re going to make keen reusers feel that they’re not doing a good job, and you’re going to miss out on the opportunity to talk specifically about problems relating to each department.

Each month, you only need to work with one or two departments to improve their reuse, and at the end of that month, you will have a new set of disposal data to work with!

 

About the Author..

Joseph Kennedy

Joseph Kennedy

My journey is education, communication and innovation. My destination is a world free from environmental collapse, ecological ruin and unbreathable air.

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