Wyndham City Council tested bin stickers and tags on recycling bins to see if residents would improve their recycling behaviour.
Project objective: To test two types of engagement interventions on the household recycling bin to see which is better at improving recycling behaviour
The council applied stickers or tags to a small sample of recycling bins at households in Point Cook and Truganina. One groups received Recycle Right stickers and the other got smiley- or sad-face bin tags depending on what was in the bin. The sad-face tag included information on recycling right and the mistakes made.
The council conducted a visual audit of bins before, after and four weeks later to see whether recycling behaviour had improved and been sustained. There was also a control set of households in each suburb.
Recycle Right stickers made recycling behaviour worse in Point Cook and variable in Truganina. The focus group said the layout and message was confusing.
Bin tags showed improved recycling behaviour in Truganina, but variable recycling behaviour in Point Cook. This suggests some merit in the tags although they might need to be refined or used with added incentives to make them more effective. The tags were adapted from City of Melbourne, and the council was grateful to use them given the tight timeframes of the project.
Although the interventions had little to no impact on recycling behaviours, Wyndham City Council was happy with the process. It gave the council enough feedback to refine the designs and to rollout something more effective in the future.
It also confirmed the need to test, seek qualitative and quantitative feedback and refine materials before rolling projects out across the whole municipality. Sometimes, there are no clear-cut intervention solutions and a variety of approaches with incentives may be required for significant improvements.
We received a sad-face label on our bin. We felt terrible but also really appreciated the label to educate us. We come from a country where we do not have the recycled bin so we have made mistakes. We always thought plastic shopping bags could be placed in this bin – thanks to the sad-face label we now know this is not the case. Many of the people we have met in Point Cook, who are also immigrants from our country, have no idea what can be put in the recycled bin. We therefore really appreciated the education label on our bin and have made the changes.
– Householder, Point Cook
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