We interviewed several companies working in California who provide services for flushable wipe issues.
This Q&A is with John Gross, Owner of Goldstreet Designs. His team of communications professionals have produced numerous community outreach materials for California agencies to educate their customers about the wipes problem.
1. When did your company first get involved in solving wipes problems?
In May 2009, the City of Redmond, Washington asked for a solution to spread the facts about wipes.
The outreach was planned for a mobile billboard on the side of their vac truck with the thought that while the trucks were working and driving around the City, residents would learn that wipes aren’t flushable and need to be put in the garbage.
In fact, after the truck was labelled , a mother and son came up to the crew at a job site.
The boy had pointed out the sign and said ‘mom, you flush wipes’
The mother asked if it was okay to flush just 1 because that’s what she did. The crew had an opportunity to explain the impact.
2. Why is your solution the best at resolving the problem?
All we do is utility outreach. We pride ourselves on having top marketing and design teams on staff, while having no utility experience. Why does that make us the best? Because we are your customer, we don’t get bogged down in engineering speak.
We pull out key points, write from a customer’s perspective while providing innovative and eye catching creative that leads to behavioral change.
We’ve served over 230 utilities and municipalities across the country.
[The door hanger is available for CWEA members at a reduced cost. Learn more here]
3. Do you have a sample California wipes problem/solution case study you can share with us?
There are a number of utilities and cities in the Bay Area (BAPPG) that are using our toilet trash outreach materials. They chose our “think before you flush” material after looking at programs regionally and across the country.
Lynna Allen at Livermore said, “I chose this material because the graphics make it easy to communicate the issues as well as the solutions to garbage being flushed down the toilet. Even when facing language barriers, people are still able to understand the messaging.”
Rob Cole from the Central Marin Sanitation District says “those that have distributed the brochure have received a lot of positive feedback and feel brochure has played a role in improving some of their problem areas.”
Three months ago, one of our clients was cleaning out a lift station twice a week due to wipes clogging up the system. To combat the issue, they called us for guidance and as a result used our “think before you flush” door hanger.
As of today, three months later, they have not had to send their crew out to clean the lift station.
4. How long has your company been working in California?
Our first project in CA was 2008 and now we work with over 30 California utilities, municipalities, state and regional associations. Some of our clients include West Bay Sanitary District, County of Santa Cruz and Salida Sanitary District.
5. What do you think is the future of the wipes problem for our profession?
Clearly, marketing of big consumer wipes companies have promoted and emphasized that flushing wipes is okay.
An integrated education strategy is the solution with a focus on kids. Kids change the dynamic in a household and parents are held accountable to what they learn and bring home.