Written by Nancy Lee, as part of her Social Marketing Sightings theme.
Sighted on: Local Newspaper

Social Issue: Medication Overdose and Waste Reduction
Social Marketing Strategy: Making Disposing of Unused/Unwanted Medications and Recyclables Easy

In the community where I live, Mercer Island, WA, with about 25,000 residents, I was in awe of the outcomes of two annual events this past week:

  • Recycling Collection Event. A total of 587 vehicles carrying 56,354 pounds of recyclable material rolled through the city’s annual fall recycling collection event in the city hall parking lot. 
  • Drug Take-Back Event. The city partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to collect 148 pounds of unused and expired medications for destruction on Oct. 29 during the semi-annual Drug Take Back event.  


I would attribute the success to several principles.  

  • High visibility (e.g., most drugstores on the Island having signage in weeks prior)
  • Ease of access (e.g., drug stores in most locations, as well as city hall locations)
  • A “repeat” event, suggesting its importance and impact 
  • Coverage in local newspapers helping to create a “community norm”



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