Collective Resource did okay through the first wave of this pandemic. The government loans helped. Our residential customer list actually grew as more people were working and schooling at home. But now, we could use some help.

With our focus on education and advocacy, we are falling a little short on marketing and sales and there are few opportunities for us to be out in public talking about our service. Have you heard about the Rule of Seven in marketing? That customers need to hear your message seven times before they’ll buy? If that is really true, it’s remarkable that we have any business at all!

So we’re asking for your help. If you’re happy with our service, and it solves a problem for you, help us market it. (The biggest, most important problem it solves is that diverting our food waste is something we all can do to combat climate change.) We are all influencers. Think about who listens to you. Is it family members or neighbors? Think about what you read and whether or not you can submit your own recommendations. Is it Facebook or Nextdoor or a newsletter you receive from your faith community or school? Maybe it’s a group text you have with your friends.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure works. I recently learned about the concept of norm matching. It is just a different term for the word conforming, but it has completely captured my imagination! If you google it, it comes up on a lot of weight loss blogs, because we humans tend to norm match when we are eating out with other humans. It’s a way that we socialize and get along. You order a drink, I order a drink. You order an appetizer, I order an appetizer. (My mom used to do this thing where I’d order something and she’d say, that sounds good, I’ll have that too, but that was because she didn’t want to have to put on her reading glasses.)

So what does all this have to do with food scrap diversion? If you compost, I consider whether I should also be composting. And the more I relate to you and your values, the more likely I am going to want to match you by doing what you do or buying what you buy.

Route Density

Route density is something we’re striving for. As much as we like expanding our service area to include new towns and neighborhoods, having more customers in the areas we already service is actually better for our business and better for the planet. It’s better to have more customers in a smaller area than to have the same number of customers in a bigger area.

That’s why we are so excited when we are awarded a franchise agreement. Franchise agreements equal route density. And if you somehow missed this, we have franchise agreements with Evanston, Skokie and Morton Grove. If the cost was what was holding your peers back, it might help to know that the cost is lower in towns that have franchise agreements.

Climate Change

When we were on vacation last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with a new report on climate change. Spoiler alert: it’s not good news. But truly, why would it be? We have not dramatically changed our behavior and policies and that’s what we need to do.

This report reminds me of the 1979 film The China Syndrome, whose plot points turn on a near disaster at a nuclear power plant. The character that Jack Lemmon played, of the shift supervisor at the plant that was near meltdown, could not communicate the danger in language that an average person could understand. This IPCC report is like that. Even the headlines seem wordy and unclear.

My boyfriend broke his wrist and is wearing a cast. Everyone asks him about it and after hearing him tell the story a hundred times, I implored him to figure out a shorter way. I suggested a haiku.

Because I love to define things: a haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. It can also be a poem written in English in that same form. 

Perfect! Climate change is about the natural world. Here’s my haiku version of the IPCC report:

Earth is changing fast
We must change faster or we
Will not be long here.

I can’t really end this blog post here. This level of bleakness is not really my general modus operandi. I’m reminded of the end of The Climate Reality Project’s slideshow: Can we change? Will we change? Must we change? (The answers are all yes.) If you’d like to read a longer-than-a-haiku synopsis of the IPCC report, there is a good one here on The Climate Reality Project’s blog.

Author Details
Zero Waste Consultant | Collective Resource, Inc.

Mary Beth strongly believes that, “It’s always better to be doing something rather than nothing.” If you’re thinking of composting at home, she can help you work out what your particular “something” can be.

She’s confident a solution can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs and ambitions. “Anyone who eats can be a CRI customer, whether you are an individual or a large organization. I want you to understand the advantages of composting, and I can show you how CRI can make it easy.” Mary Beth has successfully designed waste diversion strategies for individuals, schools, houses of worship and other communities. She’s received the governor’s Environmental Hero award for her work at her daughter’s school. Whether you’re starting with a backyard bin, a kitchen bucket, a worm farm, or large-scale commercial collection, Mary Beth can be your good-natured guide.