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NRAs 2015 Team of the Year: Cherwell and South Northamptonshire councils

A cross-functional team of four officers from the environmental services and communications departments at Cherwell and South Northamptonshire Councils was tasked with increasing recycling capacity, promoting recycling messages and informing residents about revised bin collections – on a significantly reduced budget.

The team included a recycling officer working jointly on behalf of both councils supported by a communications officer from each authority, whose role was to promote key recycling messages. The fourth team member was the graphic designer at Cherwell District Council who provided artwork to support the campaign.

For a total expenditure of £600, both authorities successfully promoted their winter bin sales, increased understanding about recycling and advertised revised collections, saving at least £13,400 compared with the same period in 2013.

This was achieved through using social media, Facebook advertising and the councils’ websites. Social media provide interactive recycling guides that were monitored by the communications officers to clarify common errors and, in conjunction with the council website, provide details of revised Christmas and New Year bin collections. As a result, both councils promoted the changes without purchasing expensive bin hangers, saving £14,000 from the shared environmental services’ budget and boosting website visits by more than 4,000 at Cherwell.

“This was a close-knit team displaying innovative ideas with a limited budget. They overcame the challenges of being two different authorities, and described teamwork as ‘everything’, even dealing with an enquiry on Christmas day.”

Judges’ comment                              

Cherwell was entering the 10th year of its current recycling scheme and its challenge was to incite new interest in an ‘old’ initiative, whereas South Northamptonshire residents were adapting to a recycling service which had been overhauled and introduced a year earlier.

The team used the councils’ websites and Facebook pages to share recycling messages and increase residents’ understanding of recycling, using lessons learned from a similar trial previously used at Cherwell.

Cherwell

An interactive Facebook campaign was promoted by the officers to address the most commonly mis-recycled items, coinciding with a winter bin sale at each council. South Northamptonshire used a ‘Rubbish Advent Calendar’ campaign, previously used at Cherwell, which ran through common household waste items during the 24 days before Christmas, while Cherwell ran an interactive A- Z Recycling Guide for 26 days of the winter bin sale.       

 

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