How Can Changing Peoples Attitudes About Recycling Help Councils Save Money?

Posted by Marketing & PR on 27 Feb 2019

How Can Changing Peoples Attitudes About Recycling Help Councils Save Money?

England’s ‘waste from households’ recycling rate has fallen following an increase in the previous year. Leading Councils to ask how can they change peoples attitudes about recycling?


The decline in recycling rates means that local authorities will see an increase in their costs, as the more households throw away the more it costs councils to dispose of it.


As many councils are already operating within tight budgets, how can they change peoples attitudes to recycling to help them save money?


“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have reported that England’s ‘waste from households’ recycling rate dropped by 0.3 per cent to 44.8 per cent over 2017/18.”

One of the most effective ways to increase recycling rates is to educate local residents on the benefits of recycling and raise awareness of the services available in their borough. A Behaviour Change campaign can help not only change peoples attitudes but also save local councils money which can be used to improve other services and facilities in the community.


While there is no definitive list of actions to boost recycling rates, there are some common communications that councils should consider when planning a recycling campaign. Let’s take a closer look at what they can do.


Make it a habit


When a behaviour becomes a habit, it becomes second nature to perform the behaviour and is harder to break. Taking a social marketing approach to your behaviour change campaign can help you use the psychology of making and breaking habits to change the way people think about recycling and increase recycling rates.


Understand peoples motivations


To change behaviours you must first understand what motivates them. Tapping into peoples motivations can help you tailor your recycling campaign to ensure your key messages resonate with residents and make them think about their behaviours.


Make it simple


Many people choose not to recycle as they are not sure of the rules around recycling, so rather than get it wrong and face a fine many take the advice of if in doubt leave it out. Educating residents about what can go into their household recycling bin is an effective way to boost recycling rates. Also, increasing awareness of other services available such as paper, glass and textile recycling services can help. After all, if people don’t know they exist they won’t use them.


Keep residents informed


Regular communication with residents about recycling is key to keeping the subject at the top of their mind. Consider telling them about improvements to the boroughs recycling rates thanks to their efforts or raise awareness of shortcomings in the borough and tell them how they can help. Each communication you have with residents is a good opportunity to remind them about the importance of recycling, how they can get involved and where their local recycling services are.


How Perfect Circle can help


At Perfect Circle, we have used our expertise in Social Marketing and Behaviour Change campaigns to help change the attitudes of reluctant recyclers and helped councils increase the recycling rates in their boroughs.


We have been involved with many recycling campaigns including Chorley Council’s Bin Thinking campaign. We provided a social marketing approach to educate Chorley’s residents regarding the recycling services available with the borough.


The campaign communicated the different types recycling services available i.e. paper, glass, cans and plastic bottles and garden waste and raised awareness of both new and existing services such as kerbside collection and ‘recycling bring’ sites.

This project together with associated activities led to Chorley Borough Council becoming one of the top ten recyclers in the UK, with a recycling rate of 16% up from 22% and the Primary Scheme adopted by 45 Primary Schools within the borough.


If you’d like to apply our social marketing expertise to a recycling campaign, then we’d love to hear from you.


Our Expertise


We are passionate about developing relevant approaches that bring about positive behavioural change – on a small scale, big scale, immediately, over time - not possibly, but definitely!


Whether we’re encouraging improving patient communication and outcomes in healthcare, promoting positive lifestyles by discouraging people from smoking in favour of taking more regular exercise, our approach identifies the best way of marketing ideas and initiatives such as Marketing Automation to bring about positive lifestyle change.


Within our team, we have leading nationally recognised academic professionals within Psychology, Mental Health and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that advise what messages and mediums will deliver the best response when we scope out a communications campaign or deliver any targeted communications.


This provides our clients with the reassurance and confidence of knowing that their communication objectives are underpinned by recognised academic behavioural theory, executed with award-winning creative design and using the latest Marketing Automation communication tools, whether it’s on a local, regional or national project.


If you’d like our help on your next Behaviour Change Marketing or Social Marketing campaign, then we’d love to hear from you. Please visit our contact page and get in touch.

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