Recycling on the Go - #binhere

Guest Blogger – Clare Estes

We’ve recently started promoting the “recycle on the go” message. It’s the next step in our push for citizens to recycle no matter where they are. But we’re aware that convenience is a huge factor for people to recycle. For many, if there’s not a bin in sight, their empty bottle or can goes right into the nearest trash receptacle. No amount of RE3.org key chains, visits from Can Guy or puppy dog eyes that we flutter can change that.

We’ve come up with an idea to help North Carolinians on the go find a bin nearby. It involves one of our favorite social media sites: Twitter (If you’ve not realized by now, we’re social media addicts. If you need a social media catch-up, check out a few of our webinars here.

We’re using the #hashtag function to help people find a bin. If you’re unfamiliar with the #hashtag purpose in Twitter, it’s used to group together tweets or conversations of a similar topic. For example, during most of June the #worldcup #hashtag was very popular. If you had anything to say about the World Cup on Twitter, you could include #worldcup in your tweet and it was added to the millions of other tweets about the World Cup. Or, if you were interested in what the Twitterverse was saying about the World Cup, you click on a #worldcup #hashtag and read the tweets of anyone who included “#worldcup“ in their tweet.

We want you, your friends, your mom, everyone to start using “#binhere” on Twitter when you see a recycling bin when you’re out and about. Here’s a recent example tweeted by yours truly: “#binhere #Dunn Rite-Aid. It’s a Pepsi Dream Machine.” I used a #hashtag for both the #binhere and for the town, Dunn. That way if people are searching for bins using #binhere or looking at what’s being said about Dunn on Twitter, they see my tweet.

You might be wondering “I don’t have a smart phone” or “you lost me at social media.” Well, there’s no harm in posting or searching #binhere tweets at home. And we are creating a website that archives all the #binhere tweets, so if you are visiting a town and can’t find a recycling location, you will soon be able to search this website to see if it is listed.

But this idea won’t work unless lots of people use #binhere. Don’t get me wrong, our interns probably contribute to a lot of the Twitter overload “fail whales,” but we can’t turn #binhere into a phenomenon alone. So here’s my challenge to those of you on Twitter (or those thinking about taking the plunge): post a #binhere tweet once a month. If at least one of your followers learns where a bin is or posts a #binhere tweet it’s worth it. It might not be the same as putting a bin beside every trash can, but it’s a start in the right direction to get people to recycle when they’re out and about.

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