Why the hype about Hugh?
A third of food in the UK never gets eaten, yet 13 million people in this country are struggling to afford to eat. That’s perhaps why Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is on a mission to find out why we produce so much waste!
Taking the lead on his very own programme, Hugh has captured the attention of not just people within the waste and recycling industry – who are largely very aware of the ‘throwaway’ problem within the UK – but general members of the public too.
That’s why the UNTHA UK team was so impressed with the concept, content and communication surrounding Hugh’s War on Waste.
All too often some of us within the industry express frustration surrounding the lack of recycling awareness in many households throughout the country. But why is this the case? Perhaps some people dismiss waste as being someone else’s problem. Or perhaps there just hasn’t been a strong enough message to capture their hearts and minds.
By airing his BBC programme, Hugh has investigated and shared the reasons why so much waste is created. He has reached out to supermarkets to showcase the role they play. He has also expressed his passion surrounding a commitment to the waste hierarchy, to ensure maximum value is captured from materials such as food, that are still fit for purpose/consumption. The mini-series has introduced a newfound sense of realism to the waste landscape that hopefully a lot of people will find hard to ignore.
Hugh’s plight could be likened perhaps to that of Jamie Oliver’s, when he took on the school dinners challenge a few years ago. What an impact that had. So, we wondered, is it the investigative journalism that is so powerful, or the fact that the issues are being highlighted by a celebrity?
We posed the question last month in our online poll – a platform that we use to regularly capture the views and opinions of people beyond our team.
We asked participants to choose which statement they most agree with, and the results were as follows:
- I am more inclined to engage with the importance of waste and recycling when a celebrity highlights the problem – 41%
- I am more inclined to engage with the importance of waste and recycling when communicated to me by someone from central Government – 14%
- I am more inclined to engage with the importance of waste and recycling when communicated to me by someone from the local authority/council – 5%
- Nothing will make me engage more with the importance of waste and recycling – 18%
- None of the above – 23%
So it seems, generally, campaigns backed by well-known faces could have quite considerable results – not because of the glitz and glamour sometimes associated with the world of showbiz, but the fact that we listen to and engage with the opinion of popular household favourites.
If more sports, TV, news and music stars were to back, or better still take the lead on a new initiative, the message may start to hit home more often.
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