BBC Breakfast’s Freedom of Information request on the amount of contamination generated from recycling collections highlighted a number of issues last week. One of the most important: the need to continue communicating the recycling message.
The coverage surrounding the story, which showed an 84% rise in rejected recycling waste over a three-year period, demonstrated yet again the lack of knowledge people have over what bin to use. Some in doubt will put a product in the recycling bin because they think they are doing a ‘good thing’, even though it’s likely to cause problems in sorting and processing down the line.
Yes, since the turn of the century local authority recycling has improved tremendously but now we’ve got people into the recycling habit some fine tuning is required. Understanding that the materials put out for recycling are valuable resources and need to be as clean as possible in order for them to remain within the economic cycle for as long as possible.
Separating out materials for recycling generates the most value for them
Research carried out after the recession in the early 1990s showed that those companies and organisations that didn’t cut advertising and communications budgets were in a stronger position when the economy bounced back. It’s a pity we haven’t learned from this.
For communication to be effective it needs to be consistent, clear and continual, regular reminders to help people act and behave as we wish them to. Without this we make little progress.
Cutting communications budget is just false economy.