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Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management: Anti Litter Campaign

Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management Services is a metro government branch dedicated to providing an efficient and cost-effective solid waste and recycling collection system for Louisville residents and educating people on proper waste reduction and recycling,

Campaign Strategy Campaign Design & Messaging Digital Media Traditional Media

The Challenge

Support the Boots on the Ground

Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management Services data proved that one piece of litter became an invitation for more. Education through community engagement and classrooms produced results but not a rate that would meet aggressive goals of 90%/90% by 2042: by this date, 90% of commercial and residential customers will participate in recovery programs, diverting 90% of recoverable materials. Building individual involvement and accountability would kick-start behavior change in the Louisville neighborhoods with the highest litter issues.

The Approach

It Adds Up

Our process always begins with a deep dive into the ups and downs of the industry and challenge. From riding on the back of a garbage truck as the sun comes up to exploring the local recycling center, we immersed ourselves in the actual obstacles our city’s waste management district faces in their everyday efforts. We worked hand in hand with their team to distill a complex landscape of waste management challenges down to their core, eventually sprouting the theme of the campaign.

While many hurdles face our waste management, we prioritized focusing our efforts on litter across the city. While most residents are against litter, many don’t see the big picture, and how small actions build on each other. The tagline “It Adds Up,” became a two-way central message. Picking up even a little litter can make a big difference, and inversely tossing out one piece of trash may feel small but has a ripple effect. Photos of actual found litter crowded the designs, giving a sense of claustrophobia and piled up trash. These were paired with a bright, bold, and typographically playful look appealing to younger audiences and those who are more skeptical of government campaigns. Customizing the campaign by including the neighborhood names on the bus shelter ads created a more personalized, grassroots feel.

The Results

The simplicity of this campaign allowed flexibility across a wide variety of applications. Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management Services’s education supervisor has utilized the campaign assets in schools, neighborhood organizations, and more.

At the start of the project, the LMSWMS Board of Directors was very detail-focused, asking, “How many commercials will we get for the investment?” By the time the campaign summary was presented, board members’ expectations had evolved. Rather than debate the number of assets, financial support was renewed to continually promote behavior change that will impact LMSWMS recovery and diversion goals.