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RFD- 3079 Business Items   Item #:   4. a.    
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 09/18/2017  
Title:    Community Based Social Marketing Organics Diversion Pilot - Levasseur
Presenter: Patrick Inglis
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: Where People Choose to Live - A dynamic city with an exceptional quality of life Related Goal: Citizens consistently express high levels of satisfaction with municipal services.

Request for Decision Summary
This presentation is being brought forward to Council to provide information on the Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) Organics Diversion Pilot Program that was completed by a University of Alberta Sustainability Scholar.  The pilot program saw the Sustainability Scholar traveling door-to-door in Hilldowns talking to residents about food waste diversion.  Using CBSM principles the Scholar was able to influence the behaviour of several residents, thereby increasing the diversion of food waste from landfill.
Proposed Motion
That the Community Based Social Marketing Organics Diversion Pilot Program report be received as information.
The City of Spruce Grove is committed to reducing its landfill waste generation as a component of its environmental sustainability initiatives. Encouraging waste diversion behavior is how residential waste that goes to landfill can be reduced. Diversion refers to placing acceptable waste in the green organics cart or blue recycling bags instead of the black waste cart. A review of the City’s past diversion shows that the City’s diversion has stagnated at around 40% since 2008 and more recently dropped to approximately 37% in 2016, with food waste making up approximately 36% of the black waste cart content and only 2.5% of the green organics cart content. This stagnation signals residents are not diverting and not diverting properly. 

Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) is proposed as an alternative to the current information-intensive campaigns. CBSM was introduced by Doug McKenzie-Mohr through his 2011 book, "Fostering a Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community Based Social Marketing". It uses direct person-to-person communication as a way to foster behavior change especially in a social context. In order to roll out CBSM based program to the scale of the whole city, this pilot program emerged to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach.

This pilot program targeted Hilldowns as a pilot community and Lakeview as a control community. Door-to-door surveying was used as the methodology. Conversation consists of information communication, surveying, and commitment inquiry. Successfulness of the project was assessed by waste data collected by GFL (the City’s waste management contractor), number of commitments made, and visual audit results. The overall result of the project are very positive. All 417 occupied houses in Hilldowns were visited at least once. Out of the 277 residents reached, 243 made commitments to diverting food to the green organics cart, which marks an 88% of success rate if the resident can be reached and is willing to participate. There was an overall downward trend in residents’ black waste cart tonnage as shown in the waste data. Visual audits also showed that residents who had never diverted food before showed evidence of food diversion behavior after the conversation. Aside from all the quantitative data, residents’ feedback was one of the most valuable forms of data gathered from this pilot program. This project and its method were highly appreciated by residents for it shows the City’s commitment in communicating with its residents in an open and transparent fashion. 
The Sustainability Scholar traveled door-to-door in the community of Hilldowns talking with a total of 277 residents about organic waste diversion.  The Sustainability Scholar gained input from the residents through conversation and surveying.  The Scholar then asked the residents to make the commitment to reducing the amount of food waste they place in their Black Waste Carts.
Due to the effectiveness of this pilot program the Sustainability Section would like to see this program continue in future years.  The Sustainability Section would like to have a summer student hired to complete the work on a City wide basis.  Having a full-time summer student would allow the City to reach most of the residents over a few summers.  With the pilot having an 88% success rate for commitments made, it is believed that rolling this program out across the whole City could make a substantial impact to the City's overall waste diversion.
The impacts of this report demonstrate that the most effective way to communicate to residents and influence their behaviour around waste diversion is through person-to-person conversations.  Having someone traveling door-to-door to break down the perceived barriers around waste diversion greatly impacts the acceptance and successfulness of the City's current waste program. With the City having the three streams of waste diversion already in place encouraging residents to use the program as intended could reduce the City's overall emissions and move the City towards achieving the 2020 target of 65% diversion from landfill.

CBSM Organics Diversion Pilot Program

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