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Pilot Project

Prior to implementing any strategy it is best to test the program, project or campaign with a small portion of your audience. Piloting allows for a program to be refined until it is effective. It also allows alternative methods to be tested against one another and the most cost-effective method to be determined. It can demonstrate to sponsors the worthiness of implementing the program on a broad scale. Provide focus groups with prompts, communication tools, incentive ideas or anything else you have considered using to get a grasp of how the public will feel about them.


A. Abington Township, Pa. - Incentive project
Abington Township in eastern Pennsylvania conducted an incentive program which sought to increase recycling participation rates. The township took portions of different incentive programs and formulated a unique program to fit its community. After the inception of the introductory pilot program, the township went on to significantly increase its trash diversion rate by 53 percent. Ed Micciolo, the public works director of the township, emphasized that it was essential for the township to first run a pilot program which effectively diagnosed areas that would need additional support.By first running a smaller pilot program, the large scale infrastructure shift was a success.

B. Boston University Medical Campus, Mass. - New recycling program
The Boston University Medical Campus started a recycling pilot in a select number of its buildings. The sustainability committee, which was created to facilitate the recycling efforts, created a number of social marketing materials to help promote the recycling pilot program. This effort has been formulated so that there is currently one recycling tote per floor; however, that can be revised if certain areas are found to be recycling more vigorously than others. The medical campus hopes that through running this initial pilot it will be able to implement a large scale recycling program for the entire facility in the near future.

C. King County, Wash. - Multi-family educational project
King County conducted a pilot program for a variety of multi-family housing units within the county. In total, the pilot affected 233 units and provided effective recycling options for those living in apartment and condo communities. They tested four cubic yard blue dumpsters, six cubic yard dumpsters and eight cubic yard dumpsters. Once a week recycling services were provided to the residents while their trash was picked up twice weekly. The community made an effort to properly mark all containers with explicit directions on what material was acceptable in the given receptacles. Additionally one resident was made a volunteer representative to ensure that the recycling process ran effectively.



D. Memorial High School, Houston, Texas - Plastic bottle recycling
Memorial High School in Houston set forth a recycling pilot program in the spring of 2008. The effort involved the entire high school, grades 9-12 with approximately 2,200 students and 175 educators. Three designated coordinators were assigned to monitor the progress and ensure that it ran smoothly. Ideally the school wanted to utilize this recycling effort as a method of modest fundraising. The school recognized that it would be essential to have custodial support in the effort and thus set forth to effectively educate and inform those that would be responsible for the primary execution of the program. The school invested in indoor and outdoor bins that were regularly used in the recycling effort.

E. New Zealand - "Reduce your Rubbish" campaign
The "Reduce Rubbish" campaign was developed and implemented in 2003 to recognize the growing issue of waste in New Zealand. The campaign focused on encouraging individuals to recycle as much as possible, compost all kitchen scraps and yard waste and to shop environmentally. During the campaign, five commercials ran which promoted these concepts. In total, $800,000 was spent on the effort with $400,000 of that coming exclusively from the national campaign allocation.