Collecting used tea bags saves £2m a year

In 2013, Lambeth Council changed its waste and recycling service in response to feedback from residents and businesses.

Lambeth Talk

What we did
In 2013, Lambeth Council changed its waste and recycling service in response to feedback from residents and businesses. With rising costs of waste disposal and cuts biting it was necessary to make savings whilst keeping the much-valued weekly household collections in place.

We changed the size of rubbish bins and introduced a food waste service so people threw out less and recycled more, introducing these changes under our environmental campaign banner ‘Cleaner Streets’.

Multi-channel communication started ahead of roll-out of this new service, so we could take on board feedback from a pilot. Consistent and regular messaging was provided during and after roll out to ensure new behaviour was embedded.

Based on nudge theory and understanding of our residents’ values, messages promoted the benefits of the new service to individuals (easier, can recycle more), to community (saves money) and environment. This involved tailored direct mailing to residents by letter, delivery of easy to follow guides answering most questions and showing how to use the bins using photos of real people, stickers on new bins explaining what the bin was for, borough-wide poster displays on billboards and on the side of rubbish trucks. To grab attention, the messages themselves were spelled out in everyday recyclables. Supporting this we used print and online media to announce the changes and focus on specific related areas such as composting or recycling white goods.

Lambeth has a hugely diverse population, yet there was an overwhelmingly positive response, with residents making great use of the service they requested in the residents’ survey.

Who we did it for
This campaign was delivered to about 80,000 households. 

Results

  • 70% of households are now using food waste service (as at January 2014.)
  • 73 tonnes of food waste collected already.
  • Recycling has increased by 13%, that’s 1,300 tonnes more a year.
  • There has been multi-million pound savings.

 

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