The TRC You Don’t Know
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The TRC You Don’t Know

Posted Mar 7, 2019 by Danielle Myers

Have you ever had an event for which you were responsible, from the initial planning stages to its completion? Even if you delegated all the duties and didn’t have to complete each action item personally, a scrutiny of the list? — is it done yet — hangs heavy over your concern for success. Sometimes the details seem almost overwhelming. And you go through this process with the little secret at the onset: Most attendees never notice the details, only the overall results.

It occurred to me after a mental review of last year’s efforts that like an event planner, many of the actions that we accomplish at TRC are often hidden from everyone’s view.

Whether you’re in charge of the event or overseeing it, the checklist pops up — manually or on your preferred digital device — and you go through “the list” to review the project’s status.

I felt it appropriate to provide our audience with some of the unseen or “backroom” activities that we initiate and engage in, to give a clearer picture of how we operate. I also hoped this mini-list would offer a peek at the workplace spirit here. Most businesses pay lip service to the idea of constant improvement. At TRC, I’d like to think it’s not a throwaway mantra.

A few of our initiatives include:

Webinars. We will present a webinar for interested parties that would like a more comprehensive view of what we do and the importance of collecting and recycling mercury containing thermostats. Last year, for example, we provided webinars for the National Recycling Coalition and Product Stewardship Institute.

Visits. Seeing is believing. It might surprise some, but we occasionally make spot checks on wholesalers to see if our bins are, in fact, where they are supposed to be and doing what they are supposed to be doing. We also hire a third party to make collection location site visits. Such visits allow us to ensure that what we have on record in our database actually matches up with reality. When visiting a regulatory agency, often times we combine it with a site visit or two as well. It’s an efficient and cost-saving approach to combining two missions into one.

Pick up the phone. My friend, a former reporter, always laughs at this one. Whenever someone in the newsroom struggled for a source, the editor would yell, “pick up the phone.” This was a battle cry for making the extra effort to get the information, especially if no one is answering your email. “Picking up the phone” helps us to confirm details about a collection location’s data in a quick, easy and inexpensive manner. Half the time we answer a question or assist with an issue they did not even know they had.  A phone conversation remains one of the best ways to clear up any miscommunications.

Software. With Salesforce, a recent upgrade to our database, we were able to update our website and provide real-time collection reports to any website visitor.  Just as important, it allows our partners to run reports on their participation and progress. Tableau, a recently acquired digital platform, provides an upgraded internal presence for gaining visually appealing access to comparison data. Both of these enhancements reduce the “where are we” by providing a report in literally a few seconds.

Pass me the map. TRC utilizes GIS (geographic information systems) software that allows us to create a map comparing population and collection data, to better visualize which areas are more fruitful for collections and recycling and which are not. This provides us with a baseline for discussion about why some areas outperform others. We use this for improved planning and possibly implementing new tactics.

Individually, all these efforts move the needle forward. Combined, they push the needle even further to maintain our politely aggressive goal of collecting and recycling mercury containing thermostats. And now, you have a peek into our “backroom.”