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NRAs 2014: Local Authority Innovation

Winner: Recycle for Greater Manchester

Recycle for Greater Manchester set out on its target of recycling 50% of its waste by 2015 by decreasing contamination levels by 3% and increasing the recycling rate by 3% among its target audience. It ran a community workshop with residents, bin collection crews and social housing providers, in order to understand the local area, its target audiences and recycling collection issues. As a result, it developed two key messages and its campaign, ‘Right Stuff Right Bin’.

Its first message provided a good reason for those targeted to get involved: “Putting the wrong stuff in the wrong bin costs Greater Manchester around £25m a year – money that could be used on other services.” The second message focused on a fear of loss: “If you put the wrong stuff in the wrong bin, we can’t collect it. People who deliberately keep using the wrong bin could be fined £75.”

“This is ballsy - it is about putting responsibility on to the waste discarder and trying to have an honest and frank conversation with residents. This was innovative in that it pushed householders to comply and used strong messages about putting things in the wrong bins.”

The Judges

The campaign included two news releases, delivered in partnership with Rochdale Council, and a leaflet drop to 1,667 households explaining what to recycle in what bin. Door-knocking of 400 properties followed in the pilot area to reinforce the key messages, ensure residents understood what would be happening, check they had received the leaflet and prompt attendance at one of the community events at a local supermarket to engage with residents face to face.

The campaign was supported by an ad-van poster driving around the area, while community posters were sent to venues such as schools, supermarkets, housing groups and community groups. Red tags were placed on bins that were rejected because of incorrect items, while green ‘thank you’ tags were placed on the bins of correct recyclers.

The campaign resulted in contamination rates reducing by 61% for the commingled waste stream, an increase in commingled recycling of 49%, and an increase in the paper and card recycling rate of 7%. It also delivered significant waste disposal savings.

Plans are afoot to roll the campaign out across Rochdale and it is also being piloted in a further seven districts across Greater Manchester.

The Finalists:

  • Highly Commended: Blackpool Council Unitary Authority

Blackpool is a small unitary authority, the eighth most deprived area in England. The town has low levels of car ownership, which affects access to the HWRC and raises fly-tipping. In 2013 the authority set up a programme including a HWRC reuse shop and a mobile recycling vehicle, and constructed a WEEE workshop facility – all in partnership with two local third-sector groups. This now sees material being collected, refurbished and moved through the social fund service to those in need.

  • Caerphilly County Borough Council
  • Dorset Waste Partnership
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • Monmouthshire County Council
  • North Somerset Council
  • Southampton City Council

Local Authority Innovati on

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