Recycle Now shares secrets of success

We are all aware these days that, broadly speaking, climate change is bad and recycling is good but sometimes effort is needed to persuade the public to translate that knowledge into action.

The public and private sectors have been invited to tap into a national campaign to encourage recycling, sharing its resources and making the most of its widely-recognised brand.

Speaking at a conference on raising recycling awareness organised by Materials Recycling Weekly on Tuesday, WRAP’s director of communications Gareth Lloyd explained the thinking behind the Recycle Now campaign outlined the case for local authorities and retailers to make use of its material in their own efforts to make the public think about waste issues.

Since the launch of the campaign recycling rates have been steadily increasing and most households are happy to recycle at least some of their waste.

“The public response has been strong,” said Mr Lloyd.

“If anything they want more services, not less. That’s very encouraging. It’s a remarkably steep journey we’ve been on and one that compares well with some of our continental neighbours in terms of the rate of increase.”

By choosing to use a well-known brand such as Recycle Now in their material to promote recycling, he said, anyone from local authorities to supermarket chains could take advantage of its established presence.

When local communications tied in with a national campaign it made both more powerful, he argued.

The direction of the campaign has shifted in the past year, as the focus moves from trying to reinforce the good behaviour of committed recyclers to persuading more people to use available services.

“The first two years were aimed at trying to get people who were already recycling to recycle more things, more often but now it’s very much mass-market and we’re targeting a wider audience,” said Mr Lloyd.

Giving people positive feedback is also very important in a social marketing campaign, he argued and it was vital to let the public know their efforts have been effective and recognised.

“There are a lot of very negative messages on the environmental front and often the public feels there’s nothing they can do,” he said.

“Here’s something that enables people and shows them there’s something positive they can do.”

The campaign has also followed the growing trend of linking the way we dispose of waste to climate change – the issue that tops most people’s list of environmental concerns.

“We have very deliberately picked up the energy theme. Climate change is climbing up the agenda and people are talking about what they can do to reduce their impact,” said Mr Lloyd.

“The thing that stands out for the general public is that they have never realised that by recycling a bottle they are saving energy and that’s good in terms of climate change.

“That’s what in jargon terms we’d call a new brand fact. It’s a way of expressing the value to the environment in a very simple way.”

Sam Bond

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