Melton City Council trialled a light-hearted educational campaign across the suburb of Taylors Hill to see if ‘fun’ messaging would encourage residents to dispose of more recycling correctly.
Project objective: To increase the quality and quantity of recoverable kerbside recycling (at a minimum of 5 per cent), by using fun and memorable educational messages as intrinsic motivators for targeted residents to recycle better
Recycle Right (in Taylors Hill) is a survey and video-based project made in partnership with targeted residents. Melton City Council used light-hearted and fun campaign materials to see if residents would internalise the idea that recycling is easy and is about contributing to the local community.
The council launched the project in February 2016 and completed the final waste stream audit in August 2016. The project took the following steps:
|Pre-audit||Audit 100 landfill bins|
|Survey||Survey the community’s recycling behaviours and beliefs|
|Video||Make a video with local content to profile the main kerbside materials going to waste due to lack of knowledge or motivation|
|Stills||Develop stills to complement the video messages for use on posters and social media|
|Letterbox drop||Letterbox drop of educational flyers/magnets across the suburb to highlight the main materials currently being lost to landfill|
|Post-audit||Audit 100 landfill bins to compare against baseline data|
The educational collateral created for the campaign highlighted the most common recyclable materials found during the audit of kerbside landfill bins (cardboard, paper and hard plastics).
- Finding effective channels to distribute the finished collateral. Tapping into resources across council provided some useful links that had a flow-on effect into the wider community.
- Meeting project milestones when needing approvals from other departments, particularly around the end of the financial year. Post-production also took longer than anticipated. Projects need contingency planning.
- Shifting from the more conventional, bureaucratic approach typical of councils to a personable, visual and interactive approach.
- Managing the contradiction between residents’ perception of their recycling behaviour and waste contractor kerbside reports. Most residents see recycling as important and say they are committed to recycling their waste. The audits and waste suggest this is not always carried out in practice.
The final audit showed a three per cent improvement in recycling with reduced amounts of aluminium, cartons, plastics and steel and increased amounts of cardboard, paper and glass.
While not a huge improvement overall, the audit results represent a snapshot in time. The project has inspired the council to begin rolling bin audits and a ‘bin cop’ inspection program across the city. The audits will give the council more valuable data while the inspections provide a more individualised education approach to help embed the right messages around recycling.
The council continues to promote the video via online and social media channels. It has also been distributed to schools.
The collateral from the Taylors Hill project provides an opportunity to create long hoped for synergies. Having contemporary materials with broad appeal across the demographics that reach people in their spaces (and not council’s) is an important step forward.
– Les Stokes, Acting Operations Manager, Melton City Council