Residents want to do recycling right, but they’ll often make incorrect assumptions when packaging is confusing or guidelines change from place to place. This can lead to wish-cycling and recycling contamination. Online digital tools provide searchable lists so residents can look up specific items and know exactly what to do with them.
Any time of year is the right time to help people build better recycling habits
Digital recycling communication tools allow us to promote messages taking account of seasonality and raise awareness about proper methods of disposal when they matter most. This summer, for example, with the UK reaching its highest recorded temperatures, it's become even more important to educate our customers and community about how to properly dispose of hazardous materials — those that present more dangers when temperatures are particularly high. Autumn offers waste communication challenges in the UK with Halloween and Bonfire Night.
To help people understand what they should do with things like fireworks or all year round with lithium-ion batteries and other common yet hazardous items, digital tools allow councils comms teams to focus their recycling education programmes, leveraging a multi-channel approach to inform and shift behaviours.
Here are the top five ways we have learnt really work to engage and inform residents, with the ultimate goal of growing recycling efforts and increasing diversion.
1. Leverage digital tools for recycling education
Share information with customers using multiple channels, including the council website, which includes interactive tools for recycling education. With the Waste Wizard, powered by ReCollect, you’re able to educate people about how to handle household hazardous materials for disposal. The Waste Wizard – a searchable database that includes thousands of materials customisable by location and programme – allows customers to search for over 10,000 specific items they want to dispose of, including batteries, paints and flammable liquids. Users can also get details about the right location for proper disposal so they can create an action plan for getting hazardous materials to one of our approved disposal locations. In addition, build out quarterly campaigns around important materials, such as hazardous materials, for customers that subscribe using digital tools. We have included a live example from Wychavon Council website..
2. Get social and blog regularly
Using an established blog channel, you can provide valuable information on recycling, composting and other waste diversion issues to our customers and residents, regularly reinforcing the same key messages. Blogs create awareness for existing customers as well as for people who find them through search engines when they’re looking for related information. These people may not be our customers, but they’re still able to gain beneficial information from our content, which augments our broader environmental mission. As you create new blog content, focus on topics that educate and inform your customers. Also, strive to create useful content for both individuals and organisations, so both groups can gain specialised knowledge related to their needs.
3. Reach out with a newsletter
Send out a regular newsletter to residents and reinforce critical information. In this newsletter, share helpful articles that make recycling appealing and manageable. Distribute useful tips and news articles, as well as promoting community drives or events that encourage increased diversion. Also feature certain issues when you know they are more relevant. For example, Fireworks and sparklers in the lead up to Bonfire Night. During September and October use the newsletter to refresh customers’ memories on how to properly dispose of these items. Newsletters are a great way to communicate regularly with your customers who may not visit your website frequently beyond initial program launch or signup.
4. Reinforce ideas with regular specific social media posts
Actively share information on social media platforms to reinforce positive disposal behaviour. While some content is promoted across all platforms, also remember its good practice to segment content to align with the audiences most likely to use each one, and include the kind of content that performs best in each space. On social media, include a wide variety of content types, so you have many opportunities to catch people’s attention. For example, on the hazardous materials campaign, use YouTube to share an informative video on lithium-ion battery disposal and promote the video and other posts — including text and infographics — across other social platforms.
5. Put it on repeat
The marketing “Rule of Seven” says it takes seven repetitions for people to absorb a message. In today’s digital world, it can often take even more to cut through distractions and get that message across. When we communicate the same message across multiple channels, it increases the likelihood that people will receive it many times and make changes to their behaviour. When it comes to safely recycling materials such as hazardous items, those changes can make a significant difference for our waste processing employees and for the safety of our facilities.
A recent customer story highlighting the value of the Digital Recycling Education Tools from Wychavon Council is available on the link HERE.
Summary: Wychavon District Council Success Story introduced the ReCollect Digital Waste Wizard search tool and Waste Sorting Game to their website in July 2022 to support the Communications Team in increasing resident education to help residents recycle with confidence and reduce waste contamination.
For more information please follow the link to our Digital Waste Management Solutions HERE or Contact us on email@example.com.