public outreach

Prior to the expansion of the recycling program and the shift from twice-per-week RSW collection to once-per-week for both RSW and recyclables into a new neighborhood, Mesa performs an extensive education program:

* a letter from the mayor is mailed indicating the date when the program will begin and announcing a community meeting;

* the meeting is held in the neighborhood to answer questions about the program and its effects on the community. The meeting includes a slide presentation, video, distribution of materials on recycling, health and sanitary condition requirement, and the availability of materials for residents;

* a postcard is mailed to each resident before delivery of the recycling bins, with the materials that will be collected;

* education materials are attached to the individual recycling bins upon delivery, describing the days of collection and other pertinent information.

Immediately prior the implementation phase, city representatives participate in a door-to-door campaign to ensure residents received their recycling bins and to present residents with brochures and a short video on the program. As soon as the program is implemented and the frequency of RSW collection has been reduced, quality assurance inspectors check the recycling bins and contact citizens if contamination is present.

All incidents of contamination of the recycling bins are recorded in the city's database. After three contamination violations, the resident is listed as "Revoked Participation" and removed from the program. After three months, these residents are allowed to participate again upon their request.

The effectiveness of the public outreach program has been demonstrated in several ways:

* Mesa has removed only 130 residences from the recycling program due to violations for contamination;

* only three truckloads of recyclables have been refused at the MRF due to significant levels of contamination;

* the participation rate is remarkably high, with only 1,230 households declining the recycling bins; and

* the number of customer complaints dramatically decreased a few weeks after the recycling program began in a neighborhood.