Social Norm Marketing Breaks The “Wishcycle”

SacGreenTeam, Organics Recycling Campaign


Sacramento County residents were confused about what recyclables could be placed in the curbside recycling cart.

Per cart checks, customers continue to “wishcycle” by putting unacceptable items in the recycling cart, thinking that may be sorted for recycling at a processing facility.

To add to the confusion, on July 1, 2022, The SacGreenTeam’s curbside customers will be required to put organic material into their green waste cart instead of their trash cart.


To cut through the confusion we utilized two types of Social Norm marketing to influence positive behavior change.

1. “Static norms” – These are the types of actions we believe our community and family and friends are all doing. In practice, it’s best to use static norms to show that a majority of a group are performing the same action.

2. “Dynamic norms” – A dynamic norm displays a shift in actions: how a behavior is becoming increasingly common. When we are seeing shifts but still not at a place where we can point to a static norm or majority, we utilized encouraging messaging to illuminate those shifts.

site visits

new users

gave organics recycling a try


3fold’s campaign cut through the clutter, shifted behavior, and broke the “wishcycle”.

21,000 people visited during the campaign to learn tips, tricks, and how to incorporate organics recycling into their routines.

Nearly 80 percent of those people were new users, meaning roughly 15 percent of the SacGreenTeam’s customer base sought out additional information and were willing to give organics recycling a try.

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