The State of Recycling in 2016: In Need of Better Outreach

The Recycling Partnership and the EPA released the 2016 State of Curbside Recycling report yesterday. The report identifies Areas of Opportunity, or ways in which residential recycling programs can be strengthened and broadened. As quoted below, several of these opportunities revolve around improved communication, education and outreach — challenges that waste and recycling professionals have been tackling for years. Very rarely does one recycling manager or municipal waste department have the time, funding, and expertise to independently create the kind of public outreach that is needed — digital, multi-pronged, consistent, easy to find and easy to understand. These are the problems we strive to solve with our Public Education Platform, by not only providing great websites and digital communication tools, but also by doing the heavy lifting of creating content and updating information. And for DIYers, our blog is filled with ideas and insights about how any solid waste department can improve its own recycling outreach.

The Areas of Opportunity to improve and expand residential recycling are based on the results of the joint research study, as well as the experience and insight of The Recycling Partnership’s staff. Recyclist’s own mission developed as a direct response to some of these same issues (read more of our story). Here’s what we’re doing to move from opportunity to reality:

Opportunity: Consistent Messaging

“‘What is recyclable?’ is a central question among program participants and program coordinators and is one of the most widely varying answers in the survey.”

This question is our very raison d’être. Recycling rules are complicated, change over time and vary greatly from place to place. So at the core of our work is providing cities and counties with up-to-date, locally accurate recycling guides that people can access anywhere and everywhere, including on the phone in their pocket, not just crumpled up in the back of a kitchen drawer. But we know that understanding what’s recyclable requires more than just having a recycling guide. You have to make sure your guide is searchable, easy to find and leverages graphics and clear language. You also need to make sure residents consume the information on a regular basis. It’s for these reasons that we built our Public Education Platform around a website that’s easy to navigate, a recycling guide that’s dead-simple to use and local information that’s always clearly communicated.

Opportunity: Consistent Information

“Both from the research collected and in our experience, many communities and municipalities do not provide easy-to-access and easy-to-understand recycling-related information.”

Visibility and clarity are so important, especially now, in the age of digital information. No single recycling program manager has the time to keep a recycling guide up-to-date and write blog posts and tweet and post to Facebook and send out newsletters with any kind of frequency. For those managers who — quite understandably — don’t have the time, our subscription service includes a website, a recycling guide, emails reminders, ready-made social media content, and monthly newsletters. The information we provide to our customers is always consistent, locally accurate and regularly updated.

Opportunity: Waking the Sleeping Giant of Multi-Family Recycling

“During the research it became clear that there is a great opportunity to understand and improve the other major form of residential recycling — multifamily collection.”

Our Public Education Platform websites always provide tips and best practices for recycling programs in multi-family housing and apartments, for both residents and owners. Check out our Stockton Recycles for an example.

We also are helping municipalities and haulers improve multi-family recycling programs through our Commercial Outreach App. The app comes loaded with a local data set that identifies the size and location of all the multi-family dwellings in a jurisdiction, along with estimated generation levels. It also enables program managers to conduct and track outreach efforts, and to generate, via mobile app, on-the-spot waste assessments and recommendations for multi-family property managers.

The bottom line is that we’re passionate about improving recycling, we know how to deliver state-of-the-art outreach, and we work with cities, counties and haulers to do just that. Learn more about what we do or take a look at our recent blog posts for DIY outreach tips.

On Clamshells and Clarity: Unpacking the Latest Research on Recycling Communication

The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) recently released the results of a survey conducted to better understand how language, images and instructions affect communication about recycling. Chief among the results are broad findings about where residents look for recycling information, as well as some specific communication do’s and don’ts. For example:

  • Residents rely on city websites for local recycling information, so websites should be easy to navigate and kept up-to-date. (This corroborates recent research by the Carton Council.)
  • On brochures and flyers, recycling information should be grouped by material categories, e.g., glass, plastic, paper.
  • Residents are more likely to understand the terms “plastic container,” “foam container,” and “take-out container” than the term “clamshell.”
  • When describing what kinds of paper goods can be recycled, the phrase “empty and clean” is more useful than “no food-soiled.”
  • To communicate that items such as paper bags must be empty to recycle, images should clearly show that the bags are empty.

While these findings may seem too narrow to be useful, they support several overarching concepts that are central to successful public communication, especially in an industry as complex as waste management. After studying the research results, we’ve identified three strategies that you can draw on to improve your outreach and education efforts. These practices guide our own public messaging and top our list of recommendations to those seeking to step up their outreach. Most importantly, these communication strategies are proven to work.

Avoid Jargon

Municipal solid waste. Organics. Contamination. HHW. Residential Curbside Pickup. The waste industry is steeped in jargon, and it can be difficult to remember that many of these terms are unfamiliar to the average recycler. We recommend this jargon litmus test: If you think a word or phrase may be jargon, step back to ask yourself, Would someone who has never recycled before know this term? If the answer is no, try looking for an alternative. For example, “municipal solid waste” can be described to residents as plain old “household garbage.” Or make use of synonyms: in our Recycling Guide, searching for “clamshell,” “plastic container” and “take-out container” will all lead you to the same place. For a term that has no easy synonym, offer a straightforward explanation of its meaning the first time you use it.

Use Images

Sometimes writing seems to hinder more than it helps. Word choice, grammar, syntax, reading level — these are just a few of the obstacles on a writer’s way to clarity. So when your goal is to communicate information to a broad swath of the public in the most effective way possible, a picture really is worth a thousand words. An empty and clean pizza box looks the same in both English and Spanish, and a picture of a clamshell (or plastic container) makes the term you use to describe the item much less important. That’s why we place prominent photos on every page of our Recycling Guide and feature them in the search tool.

Use Actionable Language

The survey results show that the phrase “Recycle clean pizza boxes” is a more useful instruction than the phrase “No food-soiled pizza boxes.” This is a prime example of the power of actionable language — that is, words and phrases that directly convey an action or a behavior. Instructions to recycle clean pizza boxes tell people what they can do — recycle — and when they can do it — if the pizza box is clean. On the flip side, the instruction “no food-soiled pizza boxes” opens a Pandora’s box of interpretation issues: What does food-soiled mean? How much food makes an object soiled? What about grease? To be as clear and motivating as possible, rely on verb-based phrases describing the actions people can take and terminology that doesn’t require much interpretation.

About the Survey

This research was conducted via a five-minute online survey that reached 1,000 homeowners across the United States. Equal number of respondents were men and women. Learn more.

Making Sense of Big Numbers in a Big Industry

In the solid waste and recycling industry, we hear statistics all the time. The amount of hazardous waste produced each year could fill the Superdome 1500 times. A coal-fired power plant generates 3.4 million metric tons of CO2 each year. Humans cut down 15 billion trees each year.

That’s a lot of information, but what do these statistics actually mean to us?

Unfortunately, not as much as they could. Try to visualize 3 million tons of trash, 30 million tons of trash and 300 million tons of trash. Can you even picture the difference?

For most of us, numbers at this scale are difficult to make sense of. That’s why, when you perform outreach of any kind, statistics often aren’t effective in their raw form. They need to be housed in appropriate, meaningful language. This is where comparisons come in. When you have a statistic that’s important, find a way to compare or equate it to something concrete and easy to visualize.

The tricky part of this is figuring out what is easy to visualize. Because if the comparison is just as obscure as your original statistic, e.g., 1500 Superdomes, it’s not effective. So how can you make comparisons that don’t get lost in the ether? Here are a couple of strategies that will help.

Use Online Tools

The EPA has two great tools for us. The first is the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. This calculator accepts either energy usage data, such as quantities of gasoline or electricity, or emissions data, such as quantities of CO2 and other environmentally harmful gases. Then, it translates the data into a slew of comparisons for you to choose from. It’s great because it can help you hone in on a comparison with a smaller number — one that is easier on the human imagination. We put this tool to use in a blog post about the environmental benefit of recycling your clothes:

If everyone in the U.S. recycled their clothing and textiles for one year instead of throwing them away, it would save 30.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That’s the same as taking all the cars in Los Angeles off the road for one year.

We took the statistic from Business Wire — 30.6 million metric tons of CO2 — plugged it into the calculator, and received a ton of information.

epa-calculator

Notably, one of the comparisons the tool offers is 6.4 million passenger vehicles driven for one year. This number isn’t especially useful by itself, but after a little research, we discovered that this is roughly the number of cars currently registered in LA County. Considering the notorious traffic in the City of Angels, we thought this was a perfect way to visualize the positive impact that recycling can have. It’s also a much more relatable comparison than, say, 9 coal-fired power plants.

So don’t feel limited to repeating the exact results you get from this calculator — you can easily translate the numbers one step further. For example, the electricity used by thousands of homes could be translated into the electricity used by all the homes in a well-known city. Or, millions of acres of forest could be translated into the size of a state. The possibilities are endless — just choose one that’s small in number and represents a size or quantity that will be relatable for your audience.

The second tool from the EPA is the iWARM Widget. This tool shows how much energy you can save through recycling. However, instead of showing energy in kilowatt-hours, it shows energy via the length of time you could power various electronic devices.

epa-iwarm-1

 

Let’s say you wanted to highlight how much energy you save by recycling plastic grocery bags. If you recycle 10 bags, how much energy does that save? As it turns out, enough energy to run a computer for 3.9 hours.

epa-iwarm-2

 

That’s pretty convincing, right? You can either use this tool for your own data purposes, or embed the iWARM Widget into your website, so residents can see for themselves the impact of recycling on energy use.

Use Infographics

If you’re still not jazzed about how great your information might look with the help of these comparison tools, let’s consider another communication tool: infographics. Statistics don’t work when we can’t visualize them, right? Then combine your numbers with images so your audience can actually see them.

The article “Land of Waste” by Save on Energy uses several infographics to help the reader see the piles of waste growing across the U.S. The table below isn’t quite as fancy as their animated maps, but it does a good job of scaling the amounts of trash from the individual level to the national level, and from a daily level to an annual level. This is highly effective in reinforcing the consequences of an individual’s daily choices.

save-on-energy

 

For another, simpler example of effective visual comparisons, check out The Guardian’s article “From Field to Fork: The Six Stages of Wasting Food”. Instead of showing percentages in a chart of some kind, this article shows percentages in small, illustrated piles of a particular type of food — the resource that’s actually at stake.

guardian

Want to create your own infographic but not sure where to start? Check out Creative Bloq’s recent roundup of the best tools out there.

Ultimately, the purpose of communicating any kind of statistic is to educate and inspire behavioral and cultural change. Once you have important information, don’t drop the ball and communicate it in scientific jargon or unfathomable quantities. Figure out a way to translate it into something meaningful. Otherwise, you’re not going to convince anyone to play who isn’t already in the game. When you make numbers tangible and personal, you make them relatable — and thus powerful.

For more ideas on motivational messaging, check out our post on Market-Tested Language to Inspire Environmental Action.

SWANApalooza Ski Day in Tahoe

Recyclist and SWANA are excited to offer SWANApalooza conference attendees the opportunity to spend a day skiing in the iconic Lake Tahoe area. Sign up below to join us for a day at Northstar California, which offers stunning views of the lake, ski terrain from beginner to advanced, and a variety of activities and amenities.

Eager to show off our beautiful backyard, the Tahoe-based Recyclist team will be your tour guides for the day, sharing local history and stories, and showing you the best trails on the mountain.

The event will be capped at 25 people. Spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Skiers and snowboarders alike are welcome.

Date & Schedule

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The group will depart Reno by bus in the morning (approx. 7:30am), get outfitted with equipment, then break into groups for skiing and exploration. We will all convene for an on-mountain lunch midday. In the afternoon, there’s time for more skiing, or enjoying Northstar’s village and shops. We’ll be back at the hotel between 4 and 5pm.

Cost

There are two registration levels:

  • Lift ticket and transportation with equipment rental – $180
  • Lift ticket and transportation without equipment rental – $130  **Please note: if you select this registration, you should plan on bringing your own equipment.

Lunch and incidentals will be paid individually.

Questions

If you have questions, or are eager to experience the mountains but less sure about skiing, please contact Recyclist’s Project Manager (and former professional cross-country ski racer) Emily Blackmer at eblackmer@recyclist.co.

Registration

Registration for the ski day is open! If you haven’t yet registered for SWANApalooza, you can register for the conference and the ski day at the same time. Or, if you have already registered for SWANApalooza, you can add the ski day by clicking “View or Change Your Existing Registration” on the log-in page. Register now.

 

Let the Yellow Pages Be Bygone

For a long time, the yellow pages were the final word on local businesses and services, including recycling information. Need to find a copy shop, a pizza or how to recycle old tires? It was all in the yellow pages. But in the past decade or so, the internet has become a major player in nearly every aspect of daily life. Meanwhile, the phone books dropped on our doorsteps have grown thinner and thinner. Old habits die hard, though, both for businesses that buy ads and for the public who use phone book directories. So in the era of the internet, what’s the role of the yellow pages?

As it turns out, the marketing punditry enjoys this topic. We searched the internet high and low, and everyone — from Forbes.com to marketing professionals to a Reddit thread — agrees that print yellow pages have ceded their dominance to online search (including internet yellow pages). Marketing analysts take data seriously; here’s a slice of what they had to say:

  • In 2011, a Forbes.com columnist reported that up to 80 percent of the time, consumers use an internet search first when looking for a new product or service. And that was five years ago.

However, this doesn’t mean that the yellow pages are totally, completely, shot-to-the-heart dead. For certain demographics, primarily the rural elderly, a good old-fashioned phone book might still work. But unless your business specifically caters to that population — offering a personal transportation service, for example — you’re unlikely to get much bang for your buck.

To get the full story, we decided to let the publishers speak for themselves. When we contacted the Yellow Pages company to ask about listing a mini recycling guide in the directory for a mid-sized California county, the sales rep quoted almost $2,000 per annum for a quarter-page ad. And then to our surprise, he said that even though his job was to sell yellow pages ads, he wanted to be transparent with us: He didn’t think the ad would be worth it.

If and when people still use the yellow pages, they are often seeking a very specific service. If you’re a plumber who offers on-call help in emergency situations, then you might well receive calls from people who found you in the yellow pages. But people tend not to browse the yellow pages anymore, the sales rep said. Instead, they use the internet: searches for local services, products, news and information are all increasingly taking place online.

The bottom line? The print yellow pages are no longer the right place to advertise recycling information. If you’re determined to have some sort of listing, go no further than a name and a URL (i.e., My Town’s Municipal Waste & Recycling Department, mytownrecycles.com). The internet yellow pages may or may not be worth it for local business advertising, but they don’t make sense for local recycling information. Your best bet is a great website, a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and targeted, effective outreach that finds your residents where they already are — online.

Recyclist’s Latest Feature: Embeddable Sites

“But how will people who come to our city website know about our Recyclist site?” This is a question that’s come up many times, and up until now, our answer was that we can link from the city website to the Recyclist site. But that never sat that well with us as a fantastic solution, and we are in the business of creating only fantastic solutions. We knew there was something better, and today we’re happy to announce that something better is here.

Now all Recyclist customers on our Public Education & Outreach Platform can embed mini versions of their sites anywhere they want, with a few simple lines of code. We anticipate this will be used primarily on city websites, but we also see this new feature as an opportunity for our customers to offer the code to other organizations who support their outreach efforts — e.g., haulers, Keep America Beautiful affiliates, conservation corps, and other government departments whose work relates to solid waste. By sharing the code with other organizations, we see a big potential for cities to leverage or establish new public-public and public-private partnerships, extending the reach of their message well beyond traditional channels.

Check out the embedded version of Stockton Recycles here:


At Recyclist we are constantly developing new features for our platforms. That is the promise of the Software as a Service model: when you sign up to use our platform, not only is your software always up to date and supported, it’s also always getting better and better. Stay tuned for more new features, and as always, please get in touch with us if you have an idea — no matter how crazy! — about how Recyclist’s platforms could work better for you.

The Best Outreach Tool You’re Not Using (But 65% of Neighborhoods Are)

Nextdoor is a private social network site for neighborhoods. Launched in 2010, it’s intended to help neighbors share local information, whether that’s to vet a car mechanic, find a lost dog or safeguard against threats. As of September 2016, Nextdoor had 110,000 registered neighborhoods in the United States. That’s 65 percent of all neighborhoods in the country.

In 2014, Nextdoor expanded its platform to allow municipal agencies to join the conversation. As a municipal user, you can post information to either a single neighborhood or all the neighborhoods in your city. To protect residents’ privacy, public agencies can’t see private conversations between residents — just information that has been communicated directly to the agency, or responses to agency posts.

So far, Nextdoor has been used primarily by safety and health officials for community engagement, crime prevention and alert, disaster preparedness and community policing. But other types of city or county administrators have also found the platform useful. San Mateo County uses Nextdoor to communicate with residents about a variety of issues, including recycling and waste.

Kathryn Cooke, a pollution prevention specialist in San Mateo County’s Environmental Health Services Division, described Nextdoor as a great way to connect with residents. It’s free, as she pointed out, and a growing number of residents and neighborhoods are using the platform. After giving Nextdoor a hearty recommendation, Kathryn kindly shared the following tips with us:

  • Nextdoor users are looking for information about how their government is serving them. Posts should not sound promotional.
  • Residents don’t want Nextdoor to be inundated with repetitive information coming from several directions. It helps to have one point person who manages and posts information coming from multiple departments. (Nextdoor itself allows one account per city/county, used by multiple departments or agencies.)
  • Information should be current and relevant, or responding to issues and concerns.
  • Nextdoor seems to be most popular among families; it’s not quite as useful to reach younger age groups.

San Mateo County has used Nextdoor to spread the word about upcoming household hazardous collection events, to conduct seasonal outreach (e.g., what to do with yard litter, where to dispose of castoffs from a spring cleaning purge) and to address community concerns (e.g., how the county is responding to illegal dumping or scavenging). If you think Nextdoor might help your community outreach efforts, learn more here:

Deep Dive Into the Latest Recycling Survey: The Upshots You Haven’t Heard Yet

The recent Carton Council survey has given us the latest numbers on recycling attitudes and awareness, and the industry is buzzing.

The media is focusing on two major takeaways from the survey. Number one: The general public believes recycling is important. Nearly two-thirds of survey participants reported that recycling should be a priority, and almost one-third said it was somewhat important. On top of that, a whopping 95 percent of participants said they believe recycling has some degree of positive impact on the environment. That’s great news, because it means that most people already have the motivation necessary to recycle. They just need to know how.

Which brings us to the second point the media is highlighting: Citizens don’t only want to be informed, they also want to be reminded. The survey shows that recycling is already a habit for many people — but how can we grow many into most or all? Recycling behavior can be reinforced and improved, and citizens are looking for help. This is why the Recyclist platform offers weekly pick-up day reminders that are paired with recycling tips, capitalizing on 52 opportunities per year to educate our clients’ residents and businesses.

So the survey tells us that recycling is popular, and more education is needed to ensure follow-through. We agree, but after taking a closer look at the reports, we’ve honed in on three upshots that shouldn’t be missed.

1. Your outreach goes further than you think.

If you can educate one person, they will educate others. More than a third of respondents reported that they get community information they trust from friends, and 18 percent reported that they receive recycling-specific information from their friends. So if you’re worried that your outreach has a limited target audience, remember that your message carries a life of its own.

2. Increasing numbers of people are relying on city websites for recycling information.

Plenty of people still rely on packaging for recycling information. That’s bad news, because even when a package is clear about being recyclable, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be recyclable in any given community. The good news is that this is changing. Just between 2013 and 2015, there has been a 25 percent decrease in reliance on packaging for recycling information, and a 15 percent decrease in reliance on product websites. In contrast, there has been a 30 percent increase in reliance on local government sites. Residents are becoming more skeptical of company product information and turning to their local governments to get information they can trust.

3. Effective outreach uses multiple channels.

Citizens rely on different channels to get trustworthy information about their communities. 43 percent of people get trustworthy community information from the news, 29 percent from local municipalities, and 21 percent from email and social media. These are three major pathways for communication. If you’re not taking advantage of all of them, you’re missing key opportunities. When we plan outreach, we often think that one major avenue is going to be enough, but the truth is that people go through different channels to find information. This is part of our strategy at Recyclist, where we provide local information through municipal websites, email and social media, as well as press releases our clients can distribute to news agencies. These numbers remind us that the more channels you utilize, the more people you are likely to reach.

The Carton Council survey, conducted by Research+Data Insights, was based on a 15-minute online questionnaire of close to 2,500 Americans who reported having access to curbside recycling programs in their communities. To access the original PDF reports, visit the Carton Council website.

Up Your Writing Game with These 4 Easy Tools

Everyone knows that you should have someone check your work before you publish it, whether it’s in print, online or just an important email. But it’s hard to find a good editor, and even harder to corner someone when everyone is always so busy. The Federal Plain Language Guidelines recommend conducting interviews and surveys to test your writing, though for most of us that’s even more unrealistic than finding an editor. Here is where these neat (and free!) tools come in: You can make your writing better without leaving your desk and without having to trouble any of your coworkers for a favor.

Say we want to do some outreach around packaging consumption, so we write this paragraph:

When consuming any type of product, it’s important to consider the packaging. In 2009, nearly 30 percent of municipal solid waste consisted of containers and packaging, and less than half of that waste was recovered for recycling. So, its important to purchase products with zero packaging at all (i.e. bulk items), purchase products with packaging you can reuse, or purchase products with packaging that you can recycle in your area.

It’s all right, but it could use some improvement. Let’s run it through these four writing tests, and see if they can help us make it stronger.

 

Readability-Score

readability-score-before-1
 

Readability-Score says the reading ease of this paragraph is 56.7. That’s not terrible, but when writing for the web or general public, you want to be at 60 or higher, so we could use some improvement. Readability-Score also says we’re at an average grade level of 11.8, and we’re aiming for 8. Here’s the other data Readability-Score gives us:

 
readability-score-before-2
 

It’s a lot to take in, but let’s focus on the following: our average number of words per sentence is close to 14, and we’re repeating a few words too much. With that in mind, let’s revise the paragraph for shorter sentences and fewer repeated words. Here’s the revised version:

 

When consuming any type of product, it’s important to consider the packaging. In 2009, nearly 30 percent of municipal solid waste consisted of containers and packaging. Less than half of that waste was recovered for recycling. So try to purchase products with zero packaging at all (i.e. bulk items), types you can reuse, or types that you can recycle in your area.

 

What does Readability-Score think?

 
readability-score-after-1
 

Our new Reading Ease Score is 67.5. That’s a ten-point improvement. And our new grade level is about 9.4. (Though Flesch-Kincaid, this site’s favorite formula, and the most commonly used, rates it at 6.4.) What about the other ratings?

 
readability-score-after-2
 
Our word repetition has dropped, though the highest is still our topic, “packaging,” and our sentences are four words shorter on average.
 
Overall? Success. This tool’s amount of feedback can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty useful.
 

Hemingway

hemingway-before
 

Hemingway says our last two sentences are too hard to read, and the word “purchase” can be replaced with “buy” or “sale.” It also recommends we remove our one adverb, “nearly,” though our one use of passive voice is tolerable. Hemingway’s grade level calculation sticks us at 14 — that’s pretty bad. But let’s see what happens when we revise for these concerns. Our new paragraph:

 

When consuming any type of product, it’s important to consider the packaging. In 2009, almost 30 percent of municipal solid waste consisted of containers and packaging. Less than half of that waste was recovered for recycling. Try to buy products with zero packaging at all (i.e. bulk items). If that isn’t an option, then choose items with packaging that you can reuse or recycle in your area.

 

What does Hemingway have to say?

 
hemingway-after
According to Hemingway, this paragraph is problem-free. Also, in simplifying the language and shortening those hard-to-read sentences, we’ve dropped the grade level to 7. Nice.
 

Writer’s Diet

writersdiet-before
 
The Writer’s Diet isn’t the perfect test for such a short writing sample, but it says our paragraph “needs toning” — not a super flattering diagnosis. When you look at all of those prepositions highlighted in green, though, it does seem like a lot. We could probably use a couple less adjectives, too. Let’s see what we can do to reduce our usage of those types of words.
 

When consuming any type of product, it’s important to consider the packaging. In 2009, almost 30 percent of municipal solid waste consisted of containers and packaging, and less than half of that waste was recovered for recycling. Aim to purchase products with zero packaging, such as bulk items, packaging you can reuse, or packaging you can recycle in your area.

 
What does the test say?
 
writersdiet-after
 
This new paragraph still contains a lot of prepositions, but less problematic phrasing overall, earning a new diagnosis of “fit and trim.”
 

Grammarly

grammarly-before
Grammarly is the first test to point out our “its/it’s” typo. But it doesn’t have a lot to say besides — if you want feedback on any advanced issues, you have to purchase their full product.
 

The Takeaway

Each of these writing tools has different strengths, so your favorite is going to depend on your needs and preferences for delivery. Grammarly is great for catching typos and giving word suggestions, and can also be used in conjunction with these other writing tools, though it frequently suggests that you pay for their full service. The Writer’s Diet is great to point out patterns in your writing style, if you tend to overuse certain types of phrasing. Hemingway gives color-coded feedback on specific sentences, though Readability-Score will tell you if you’re having problems because you need shorter sentences or shorter words. Keep in mind, too, that all these tools offer extra services for menial fees.

No matter which you prefer, with these tools at your fingertips, you’ll be out of excuses for bad, unclear writing. Now get to it — the world is in need of a little extra clarity.

Talking Organics at the SWANA Western Regional Symposium

If you’re attending the SWANA Western Regional Symposium, come by the Organics Solutions Technical Session to hear Beyond Spreadsheets: Using Cloud Technology for Commercial Organics Monitoring, Compliance and Outreach by Recyclist Founder Emily Coven.

Attendees will get a closer look at our cloud-based solution that makes it (literally!) 7 million times faster to identify businesses that are on the hook for AB 1826 compliance in 2016, 2017 and 2019, and then to track their progress and conduct simple, effective outreach.

We look forward to a great conversation with SWANA members about the challenges and opportunities in a data-based approach to managing commercial organics programs, including accessing and working with hauler data, balancing automated vs in-person outreach, and venturing into self-reporting and text messaging.