Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Getting behind closed doors

In the struggle to raise the public's awareness and understanding of the urgent need for them to separate materials for recycling, doorstepping is proving a valuable tool in getting the message across.

Doorstepping involves knocking on the doors of householders and telling them face to face about the services that are available in the area, explaining the need for recycling and encouraging those who already recycle to participate more often, or to put out more materials. This method is becoming acknowledged as an effective communications tool to help local authorities reach recycling targets, and uses teams of specially trained staff in targeted areas.

The principal aims of doorstepping include:

• Raising awareness of recycling and encouraging action

• Providing details about recycling collections from home

• Increasing capture rates

• Decreasing contamination

• Improving participation and/or set-out frequency

• Providing targeted information with a personal approach

• Gathering data on attitudes to recycling

• Obtaining feedback from residents on current services.

According to Waste Watch's best practice guide, doorstepping has the greatest impact in areas with existing effective recycling collections and high levels of resident support. However, it can be also used during the launch of a new service, to improve poorly performing neighbourhoods and to pilot new systems and messages.

However, Waste Watch also warns that if doorstepping is conducted in areas with poor recycling collections, waste authorities are unlikely to see any improvements in recycling behaviour.

Doorstepping has been used in a number of London boroughs in the last two years, funded by the London Recycling Fund. Both Waste Watch and the Recycling Consortium have experience and expertise in this direct marketing approach, and have been involved in various London schemes. The doorstepping concept is spreading wider, and a number of local authorities are either already using it, or planning to.

Recycle Now for Cornwall has launched a £500,000 recycling awareness project aimed at raising the public's awareness of recycling, and encouraging them to take a more active part which will employ the doorstepping approach. The funding for the Cornish project came jointly from the Waste and Resources Action Programme and the local authorities, the districts and boroughs that are the collection authorities, and the county council which is the disposal authority.

The Recycle for Cornwall scheme is being run by two local NGOs Cornwall Waste Action and ReZolve Kernow and will be linked to the national Recycle Now advertising campaign. Cornwall has increased its recycling from 6% in 1998 to 23% today, but needs to do much more. Dave Owens, waste manager for Cornwall County Council says: "With the start of the Recycle for Cornwall campaign we can now really concentrate on rolling out the recycling message across Cornwall. We have an excellent and expanding recycling infrastructure in Cornwall and through this project we hope to see recycling levels go even higher."

More than 90% of Cornwall is now covered by kerbside collections of recyclables. These are supported by bring bank facilities and civic amenity sites, which Owens says, "mean recycling has never been easier".

The campaign will be backed up by a freephone number and website providing up to date information and assistance.

The official launch of

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.