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Statewide Environmental and Sustainability Communications Plan

Background

The State of Iowa has not had a recycling-focused communications campaign in over 40 years. At the same time, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is currently transitioning from an integrated solid waste management system to sustainable materials management. Foth was hired to develop and implement a public awareness and education campaign focused on the environmental benefits of reuse, recycling, and other landfill diversion behaviors and opportunities.

Approach

The first step in the project was for us to develop a five-year Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Environmental Communication Plan (Plan) that provides the framework to be utilized throughout this campaign. The campaign has two focus areas. First, increase citizen awareness of existing solid waste management systems, including reuse, recycling, proper recycling participation, and environmental impact. Second, to introduce the concept of sustainable materials management (SMM) to Iowans. The campaign plan is based on social science and behavior change research.

The campaign assets are being designed at this time for a launch in early 2021. The campaign assets include digital ads, videos, social media posts, and articles. The diversity of Iowans and how Iowans recycle will be featured in the campaign. All campaign elements are designed for us by solid waste and recycling partners, facilities, and organizations, including as part of the Iowa Environmental Management System (EMS) projects.

Results

The campaign will launch in 2021. Over 25 different partner organizations have been consulted to seek feedback on what they need for a communications campaign to create increased waste diversion and recycling in their community. This feedback has been incorporated into the campaign.

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