Consumer Disposal Instructions FAQ’s
With the advent of stricter FTC enforcement of their published “Green Guide” for retailers and manufacturers, more companies are showing an interest in product-specific recycling and disposal messages to accompany their brands. These instructions are referred to as Consumer Disposal Instructions or “CDI” and play an important role in fulfilling extended producer responsibility (EPR).
Consumer Disposal Instructions FAQ’s With the advent of stricter FTC enforcement of their published “Green Guide” for retailers and manufacturers, more companies are showing an interest in product-specific recycling and disposal messages to accompany their brands. These instructions are referred to as Consumer Disposal Instructions or “CDI” and play an important role in fulfilling extended producer responsibility. If my company can’t use “please recycle” anymore, why shouldn’t we use “please contact your local solid waste authority”? For most consumers, adding to the burden of properly handling a waste product or its packaging will greatly reduce the desired outcome of proper disposal. In a survey conducted in late 2010 of over 50,000 people, over 86% of consumers revealed they do not respond to vague instructions. Using Earth911.com and 1-800-CLEANUP as your resource for CDI will benefit your brand, simplify the disposal process and enhance your company’s battle against “branded litter” and the marketing expense needed to offset the brand’s erosion. Have you ever contacted your solid waste disposal agency for information on how to properly dispose of or recycle a product which you feel should not be thrown out with regular household trash? YES NO 86.2% Where does CDI belong, on the package or on the web? Simplicity rules the world of consumer behavior and the feedback confirms that consumers prefer to have the disposal resource right on the product package. Though local facilities ranked high, listing them all on a product package is usually impractical. Number of Responses On the package from the manufacturer 24,820 From a local solid waste facility 23,282 From a government website 12,713 From the manufacturer’s website 12,449 From the store where I bought them 8,476 Other 6,909 Source: The Natural Marketing Institute Q4 2010 survey. What does “branded litter” mean and what is my brand supposed to do about it? The term isn’t a derogatory one, but it’s close. It refers to specific items that are often found in recycle bins even though they aren’t recyclable, and conversely, items frequently found in the trash when they should have been recycled. As you might imagine, this can become disruptive to the collection process and adds costs. When the pile of material gets large enough it gets noticed and local government may be compelled to address the issue. The landfill bans in a dozen states on motor oil filters (recyclable for steel) is a good example of a product being singled out of the waste stream for targeted legislation. The convenience of Earth911.com and 1-800-CLEANUP lowers the friction a consumer has to overcome to handle the waste item properly. How are you likely to handle a product that you know does not belong in the landfill? Research the proper disposal method and dispose of it properly End up throwing it out with the regular household trash anyway Throw it in the recycle bin and let the processing facility figure it out Contact my local recycle center Contact the local waste disposal agency Other Contact the manufacturer Contact the local fire/police department Number of Responses 14,297 12,309 10,590 9,952 9,706 6,805 1,382 1,040 Since savvy consumers might notice the CDI on the package, will they punish my brand for appearing to need special handling at end-of-life? The survey results don’t appear to support this concern. Better yet, it appears that nearly 42% of consumers are prepared to reward the brands that offer a complete CDI solution on their products. Some retailers are taking notice and are now factoring CDI into their vendor selection process as well as their store layouts during re-sets. Combined, these two forces (retailers and consumers) are sending a powerful message to brand managers who are responsive to important changes in buyer sentiments. Source: The Natural Marketing Institute Q4 2010 survey.