Autumn 2016 to Spring 2017

The challenge

Bexley is a respected recycling leader. Current levels of recycling are around 54%, which is more than any other London borough. The aim to get it up to 60% by 2020. We were asked to run an insight-driven campaign to help achieve this. In a context where recycling rates were already high, this required an innovative and evidence-based strategy.

How we approached it

Our approach was based on a three-stage approach. Firstly, we combined a review of for recycling campaigns from elsewhere, together with a survey of 500 residents combining qualitative and quantitative research questions in three key Bexley wards. We also did values-based research. To complement this, we carried out depth interviews with five experts in the field.

The research showed that there were three of the five main Acorn groups in the borough who were doing far more recycling. While the long-term aim is obviously to reach beyond these groups, it became evident in the research that there was still much to be gained from further embedding the good habits these three groups were already exhibiting. On this basis we held workshops with recycling staff, off the back of which we co-produced the final pilot campaign.

What happened

We designed a message that was congruent with the values and concerns of residents in the target wards and Acorn segments. This was built around a ‘think twice’ call to action, that sought to increase the thoroughness of the food recycling going on. The theme underpinning it was local pride in Bexley’s status as the capital’s highest performing borough for recycling, emphasising achievement and ambition.

The message was dispersed via leaflets and face-to-face engagement (including distribution of caddy liners). 1,500 leaflets were delivered in the end, alongside 500 conversations, with the result in the target wards being a 13% increase over the time-span during which the campaigns were running.