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NRAs 2016 - Communications Award (Public Sector)

Winner: Rochdale Borough Council

Rochdale’s ‘Recycling Saves Money’ campaign was launched in the context of the authority having to make £37m in savings during the next two years.

The waste and recycling services were asked to contribute £1m of this by reducing disposal costs. As a result, a new service was proposed to introduce a weekly food waste collection to around 88,000 households. As well as the food collection service, collections of residual waste were stepped down from fortnightly to every three weeks.

To engage affected households, an integrated communications plan was developed to raise awareness and encourage behavioural change and increase recycling. The campaign included leaflets, social media and website. Householder packs with information on the new service, what to recycle in each bin and a new collections calendar were delivered.

We liked the connection with minority groups and the thorough preparation. Social media use was organised and purposeful. The council over-achieved its objectives

Judges’ view

Bins were tagged and stickered during the roll out to remind households of their next collection. Ethnic minority groups were engaged via mini roadshows at mosques to support the food waste recycling message.

Within the first two months, the recycling rates rose to 49% in January 2016 compared to 31% a year earlier.

The council currently pays £306.62 per tonne for the refuse waste it collects. If it does not increase recycling and reduce the amount of general waste, the total cost of waste disposal could increase by as much as £2m by 2016-17.

An initial analysis of disposal costs at the end of December 2015 indicated that the new service has reduced disposal costs by £303,000.


  • Belfast City Council
  • Dorset Waste Partnership
  • London Borough of Sutton
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • Wakefield Council
  • Watford Borough Council

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