In June 2021, the Carton Council of Canada (CCC) launched our first Community Education Award program developed to incentivize and improve recycling education in communities across Ontario.

The award was initiated because there is still a great deal of confusion about the recyclability of food and beverage cartons. Research also suggests that consumers look first to their local community websites for information about what they can and cannot recycle.

CCC is pleased to announce that 13 organizations completed the program. Successful participants include:

Each of the participants will be awarded $2,000 for successfully showcasing their proactive recycling education efforts featuring food and beverage cartons. In addition to promoting recycling in general, each organization’s website was required to accurately and clearly define carton recycling.

The program closed on November 26, 2021 and the results have been impressive. From flyers, posters and postcards to social media content to after-school programs and contests (carton sculptures anyone?) focused on recycling education to engaging local waste diversion educators, the participating organizations demonstrated tremendous creativity and a deep commitment to sharing carton recycling messages.

Looking at the activity undertaken by the award recipients, there are a few notable trends:

  1. 85% of the organizations leveraged social media channels as both an education and community engagement tool
  2. 92% used more than one communication platform for their awareness-building activity, extending the reach of their efforts to social, digital and traditional media along with other hard copy-focused marketing efforts such as posters in public spaces, tax and water bill inserts and other mail-out initiatives
  3. Four organizations/municipalities were able to pair their online efforts with campaign-focused content placed in local newspapers
  4. All organizations ensured their websites reflected accurate carton recycling-related information and many updated their sites to incorporate more consumer-friendly language.
  5. Images and illustrations proved very helpful and most participants took advantage of CCC’s free Advertising and Image Bank. As an FYI, the image bank is open to anyone looking for new imagery to support their educational efforts.

Feedback from participants has also been very positive. Cathie Green from the Township of Drummond/North Elmsley shared her team’s enthusiasm for the campaign – and their commitment to continuing the effort. She says: “We had a good experience with the project and are pleased to have the ad and poster files for use in the future … because the campaign is far from over!”

Throughout the campaign, Carton Council has also been able to develop and offer additional resources for use both by Community Education Award participants and anyone else interested in updating their own online carton recycling information.

These resources include the slides from and recording (passcode: Km7L4T*d) of a Web Site Best Practices & Effective Recycling Messaging webinar CCC hosted at the outset of the Community Education Award program, along with a sorting guideline visual  CCC has developed and can help customize to individual program needs.

CCC extends their congratulations to each of the successful award recipients.

Stay tuned for details about the 2022 Community Education Award program coming soon!