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The City of Indio Tackles Household Hazardous Waste

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When was the last time you thought about Household Hazardous Wastes, or HHW? These are leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances. HHW, which include corrosive and toxic products, like: paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides. They can contain hazardous ingredients which, according to the EPA, necessitate special care during disposal.

Improper disposal of HHW – such as pouring them down the drain or toilet, onto the ground, into storm sewers, or even into the trash—can – pollute the environment and contaminate septic tanks or drinking water. Most people don’t realize that throwing these items away can result in physical injury to people or pets, but some cities have started campaigns to increase public awareness.

The City of Indio recently teamed up with the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources to double the amount of free hazardous and toxic waste drop off events throughout the year. These events are part of the city’s “Box It and Bring It” campaign, which it has used for the last few years, and which it plans to continue through 2020.

Because this campaign presented a real challenge for creatively communicating a great deal of information and increasing public participation, The City of Indio reached out to Goldstreet for help educating and engaging the community. The city wanted to create materials that contained an explanation of HHW items, a list of acceptable items to bring to the drop-offs, collection dates and locations, and tips for HHW disposal. They needed comprehensive materials that could be used for several years by simply changing the event dates each year.

Goldstreet Designs, the City of Indio, and The Sustainability Commission all worked together to create the HHW campaign. The three organizations started by focusing on a succinct campaign message, along with a tagline. Next, they turned to the design of the materials, using catchy colors and photo illustrations to complement the message. With so many partners collaborating, the campaign approval process went through several rounds of brainstorming, drafting, and change-making. Both the City of Indio and the Sustainability Commission offered Goldstreet guidance as the agency brought the “Box It and Bring It” campaign to life.

Sara Toyoda, from The City of Indio, says, “I’m happy with the way everything turned out. The community is responding to the events. People tend to bring the items on the list and there is less confusion at the events. There are still some questions, but not many, since the outreach material is clear on what to bring.”

In the end, the “Box It and Bring It” campaign included several types of materials, including bill inserts and social media snackables. The playful visuals of the materials’ photo illustrations have helped get readers’ attention, while the bright colors and bold fonts are perfect for emphasizing the most important pieces of information. A comprehensive PDF is also now located on the website, serving as a resource for all things Household Hazardous Waste and proper disposal.

Toyoda says, “The colors, taglines and branding are all very recognizable. Now people know what to look for and that this outreach is for the HHW collection.”

Through their collaboration with Goldstreet, The City of Indio was able to create a memorable and educational campaign that they’ll now be able to use for years to come.

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