Mindful Waste Disposal
In 2017, 70% of sewer backups in New York City were traced to the build-up of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that were poured down toilets and drains. This build-up causes extensive damage, impedes critical operations, and costs the City hundreds of millions of dollars each year to address.
The Department of Environmental Protection enlisted Zebra Strategies to test a new campaign encouraging New Yorkers to change their behaviors and think about what they pour down the sink or flush down their toilets.
Our Initial Findings
To gain insight into the flushing habits of New Yorkers, Zebra Strategies conducted focus groups targeting English- and Spanish-speaking New Yorkers who identified as users of disposable wipes. We discovered several key insights:
Zebra’s careful research uncovered that the key to an effective campaign is to shift the framing of the issue so that viewers feel an increased responsibility towards their neighbors and the environment. We found that showing the widespread effects of individual actions is the best way to spur viewers into changing their flushing habits. The chosen campaign succeeds by bridging the cognition gap and acting as a “wake-up call.”