Council brings in agencies for two-year recycling behaviour change campaign

Hampshire County Council has employed the services of two specialist agencies for a two-year recycling behaviour change campaign in a bid to reduce its £100m-a-year waste bill.

Council brings in agencies for two-year recycling behaviour change campaign

The campaign sets out to address the problem of stagnating or falling recycling rates across local authorities against a backdrop of continued budget cuts and national recycling targets.

Across Hampshire, where recycling rates have plateaued since 2011, collecting and processing waste costs council taxpayers £100m each year and it wants to reduce this spend by working with local authorities within the county to make recycling easier.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire County Council told PRWeek: "[We], like all local authorities, have to look to reduce the costs of delivering services, in light of ongoing national austerity. If the cost of waste can be reduced, by wasting less, recycling more, reducing contamination, this could deliver significant financial savings to Hampshire taxpayers."

The project will first seek to gain an understanding of what helps or prevents residents from recycling, with the aim of developing innovative approaches to enable people to increase how much they recycle.

Kin&Co, a comms agency with experience in behaviour change, will work with digital marketing agency Net Natives to deliver the insights and key messages behind the campaign.

The project will begin in November and will be evaluated over a two-year period.

Kin&Co’s project director Betsy Read, former head of campaigns for Zero Waste Scotland, will use the agency’s audience segmentation, which is based on values and attitudes behind a wide range of behaviours, to develop the messages and interventions needed to inspire people to recycle more.

She said the issue of stagnating recycling rates, along with financial pressures on councils, created an "opportunity to establish new approaches where previous ones have ceased to be as effective as they once were" and to drive a long-term shift in recycling behaviour.

The agency said it was yet to decide which comms channels it would use to reach people but would do so based on selecting an audience, focussing on its behaviours and then developing a means of influencing them.

But it said channels could include social media and peer-created content to support mainstream media coverage.

Hampshire Council, which selected the agencies on the basis of a competitive pitch, said it had a track record of successfully using external specialists to reform its services and had delivered £340m of savings on its budget to date.

The spokeswoman continued: "Evaluation [of the project] will be carried out over a two-year period to evidence impact – measuring matrices such as contamination rates and increase in recycling rates."

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