Mayor urges Londoners to recycle more

The driver behind London's recycling effort is changing direction in step with the National campaign, RecycleNow, to become as far-reaching and hard-hitting as possible. John Duffy, the Mayor's Policy Director on the Environment, explains the ongoing effort to boost the capital.s recycling initiative.

On 11 October 2004 the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock launched the new phase of the Recycle for London campaign. Recycle for London is a £3.5 million advertising campaign running up until April 2006, funded mainly by The London Recycling Fund and Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP).

Launched in the first instance in September 2003, Recycle for London now has a new look. The campaign has rebranded in line with the new national RecycleNow campaign and has exciting advertising. Services across London’s boroughs have improved and the campaign is aimed at making Londoners aware of the available services and encouraging them to use them to recycle more.


The evaluation results from the first campaign were thoroughly examined to determine how the campaign could build on the success of the first year to create an even bigger impact. The key point was that going forward the campaign wanted to increase the number of Londoners who saw the advertising from the 33% achieved during the first year of the campaign.

With the development of a new national campaign, Recycle for London wanted to work as closely as possible with WRAP to develop synergies between the two campaigns and leverage the national activity in London. The national campaign provides the ‘why we should recycle’ message and Recycle for London needed to deliver the ‘what you should recycle’ with the London Boroughs delivering the ‘how you can recycle more’ message.

Team Saatchi, who developed the advertising creative for the national campaign, were commissioned to develop a London campaign with the key message that Londoners can recycle more than they think, in terms of volume and breadth. The key target audience for the campaign are medium and low recyclers. Representing over 50 per cent of Londoners these are the people who already recognise the need to recycle but could be doing much more.


The advertising uses the line ‘London, let’s recycle more’ with the words placed on recognisable brands of cans, glass bottles and jars and paper items. The use of such recognisable brands but with a twist grabs the attention of the reader and also helps achieve one of the key aims of the campaign, which is to normalise the act of recycling. The well-known brands are all items that Londoners tend to have in their cupboards at home and therefore communicates directly that recycling is something everyone should be doing.

The advertising used large 40ft by 10 ft billboards across London to reach as many Londoners as possible. This was supplemented by 34 16 sheet adverts on tube stations in central London, as well as a further 250 smaller posters across the Underground network. The campaign aims to grab people’s attention as they travel in to work, go to the shops or take the kids to school.

A key component of the success of the Recycle for London campaign is its close working with the London Boroughs. For Londoners to move from having an awareness of recycling to taking action they need information on how they do that in a way that is convenient and easy for them. In order to support the high-level advertising borough specific advertorials (paid for editorial) were run in over 70 local papers giving details of local recycling services.

There is also an online advertising campaign targeting sites such as, and to drive Londoners to where they can use the facilities locator to find out if they have a recycling collection from home, what day collection is and other essential recycling information.

The campaign is supported by a PR campaign that aims to sustain media coverage of recycling throughout the campaign period. The launch event achieved good coverage on regional TV and radio stations. The campaign has now recruited two top designers to the cause – Jacques and Joseph Azagury (Jacques was one of Princess Diana’s favourite dress designers) will be creating a fantastic dress and shoes to match from recyclable materials. The outfit will be launched during London Fashion Week in February 2005. In addition the campaign is producing a calendar featuring London’s recycling heroes. The photographs have been taken by famous photographer Terry O’Neill whose former subjects include Bridget Bardot and The Beatles. The photographs and the stories that go with them will be pitched to the local newspapers in the run up to Christmas.


A specialist agency has been employed to communicate the campaign to London’s ethnic audience. This has been done by placing adverts and editorial in relevant titles, which feature celebrities that have been recruited to support the campaign. Adverts have also been run on ethnic radio stations as well as Asian television. Posters and leaflets are being sent out to community groups so that the message gets out into the community.

In regards communications at a borough level the Recycle for London campaign has worked with the boroughs to try and deliver their needs at a local level. A series of templates are being developed which can be individualised for each borough with the information they would like their residents to be informed of. Funding is also available to boroughs through the Recycle for London campaign for local communications work.

Frequent contact is made with boroughs to discuss their communication and operational plans and how the campaign can support them in this. Examples of how boroughs have used the campaign at a local level include the use of council owned poster sites to display borough specific campaign posters and campaign branded new service leaflets. All this activity adds significant value to the campaign and using campaign branded information locally increases the effectiveness of that activity.

The whole campaign is supported by a helpline (0845 3 31 31 31) as well as the website. The helpline service is now being delivered through WRAP’s new national campaign, and has adopted the number from last year’s Recycle for London campaign so that there is an element of consistency for Londoners. Recycle for London still maintains its own website as it features the extremely valuable facilities locator tool. The RecycleNow website links closely to this site driving Londoners to the site to find out the local detail while the national website provides all the background information.


The main high-level advertising has now finished and the evaluation is currently taking place. However PR and online activity continue to run to maintain the momentum of the campaign. Initial feedback has been extremely positive in respect to the advertising and the Recycle for London team are hopeful that the evaluation results will reflect this.

The campaign will be continuing over the Christmas period with local paper advertorials in the New Year giving Londoners information on how to recycle their Christmas waste, such as cards and trees.

Planning is now beginning for next year’s campaign, and the Recycle for London team aim to continue learning from each phase of the activity to further improve the effectiveness of the campaign.

For further information please contact the Mayor’s Office on: 020 7983 4100 or visit

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