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What have we got to say about recycling? “Just one thing”…

In a blog post last month we commented on the importance of words in waste. The careful use of messaging within our industry is able to inform, persuade, evoke emotion and promote action. It all boils down to the age-old phrase – communication, communication, communication.

So when we read about a Recycle for London campaign launched in the capital city earlier this month, we were pretty impressed with not just the name of the new idea, but also the way the underlying objective has been explained.

The initiative aims to encourage every Londoner to think about their waste habits and do “Just One Thing” to increase the amount of materials they recycle. What a great idea – who isn’t able to make a single small change?

However, there’s further substance to the campaign, presumably because the founders Resource London were mindful of potential resistance such as ‘what difference will it make if I do “just one thing”?’

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and Wrap partnership has launched a new advice-led website full of information on what can and cannot be recycled; there are numerous tips outlining how to reduce waste and reuse more materials in the home; and, most importantly, they’ve highlighted the benefits of every individual doing “just one thing” better.

For instance, the campaign reports that: “If every Londoner recycled one more plastic bottle a week for a year, that would save enough energy to power Wembley Stadium for 2 years.”₁

Such content is perhaps the missing ingredient underpinning so many other campaigns that have failed to get off the ground. Surely to encourage a new action to be taken, people need to understand the results of their efforts, however small.

Praised by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the initiative – which aims to support the capital’s target of recycling 50% of local authority collected waste by 2020 – also uses a quiz to suggest what each participant’s “Just One Thing” could be.

UNTHA UK’s managing director Chris Oldfield comments: “I believe that for a new campaign to be meaningful, it must clearly demonstrate why it is important that people get involved. It also needs to explain how each person can make a difference, in a way that is achievable for them. “Just One Thing” seems to tick all of these boxes.

“Above all, communication must lay at the heart of everything. On the face of it, it seems Recycle for London has done a very good job here, especially as they’re said to have incorporated consumer research to ensure maximum engagement.

“I look forward to reading about uptake and impact figures in a few months’ time.”

₁ – Information obtained from CIWM online article


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UNTHA UK is the country’s leading supplier of innovative waste shredding technology and waste management expertise. Combining unparalleled technological manufacturing capabilities with decades of UK marketplace and shredding application expertise, UNTHA UK delivers an insightful, personable and value-adding service which has cemented the company’s position as the number one waste machinery provider in the country. ISOQAR Registered
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