Locations where people throw away items or use bathroom facilities can be great opportunities to send messages that matter. Here are nine thoughts on creative ways we see messaging of varied kinds at facilities the public almost always has to use wherever they go.
- Art in bathrooms or on recycling centers can help tell your story. Visual art communicates to people of all cultures as a universal
language. The art can simply be thematic reminders of where you are and the beauty and key features of the area or it can provide a detailed representation of your theme without words.
- Explain what happens next to recycled materials or human waste and how that benefits the environment. “We compost your cups and plates to nourish the soil created in our gardens.” OR “This is a composting toilet that converts human waste into soil.”
- Give the BIG PICTURE such as the total amount of waste daily to be handled and processed. Fun facts can provide an impressive overview that may make stimulate guests to think about the impact they have.
- Give guests an idea about how they can help immediately – “Get your cup refilled instead of taking a new one.” OR “Refill (or recycle) your water bottle here to reduce the number of plastic bottles that find their way to the landfill.”
- Add a TAKEHOME message that suggests how people might reduce
their waste stream at home. In the United States, explaining that tap water is tested continually and of very high quality helps people understand that bottled water may not be their best option, both for safety and for reducing the waste stream.
- Share program messages in bathroom stalls, above urinals, and on bulletin boards on or near bathrooms. We all have need of disposing of human waste several times a day. Having something to read in the bathroom related to the site experience can be both useful and enjoyable.
- Explain the implications for the community or wildlife if we don’t do better with handling solid waste of all kinds.
- Take your messaging opportunities a step further by being
consistent with the products you offer in your shops. Provide refillable drinking containers instead of bottled water, and paper or biodegradable cornstarch bags instead of one-use plastic bags for sales items. Avoid offering low-quality or inappropriate items that do nothing to support your theme and end up as trash.
- Be careful that your own maintenance matches your message. Make sure your staff understands that the public follows your lead. If they see staff empty a recycling container into a trash dumpster or water being wasted adjacent to a sign about keeping water clean and using it minimally, they are likely to do the same. It may cause them to question your other messages as well.
Your messages matter more if well planned and executed. If you need help with that, let us know.
– Tim Merriman