Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Effective implementation of a marketing communications strategy for kerbside recycling: a case study from Rushcliffe, UK

Mee, N., Clewes, D., Phillips, P. S. and Read, A. D. (2004) Effective implementation of a marketing communications strategy for kerbside recycling: a case study from Rushcliffe, UK. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 42(1), pp. 1-26. 0921-3449.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: Driven by legislation, within England, the Government has set challenging, but realistic, targets to improve the management of municipal solid waste (MSW). This includes, to recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste by 2005. Additional to this, is the requirement under the EU Landfill Directive to limit the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) to be landfilled. Such targets will be very difficult to reach unless there is a rapid improvement in the recycling rate across England. To reach the targets, the majority of waste collection authorities (WCAs) will need to introduce a kerbside type collection, focussing upon key recyclates. For the kerbside scheme to deliver its intended outcome, the local population has to be effectively engaged through a well-designed communications campaign. Whilst there has been significant growth in publicity for local recycling schemes in recent years, there has been a general neglect of issues concerning public participation and the need for effective marketing communications to residents. Very little empirical research has been conducted to explore the role that marketing communications can play in influencing attitude change and recycling behaviour, determining which communication tools are considered to be most effective by local residents, the most effective scheduling of marketing communications and their cost effectiveness. Rushcliffe Borough Council is a WCA in the East Midlands of England. It decided in early 2001 to adopt a kerbside scheme in an attempt to reach statutory targets (e.g. 12% for 2003/2004). The introduction of the scheme was supported by a communications campaign, branded as recycling2go. Underlying the branded image was a detailed communications strategy, designed by a RBC expert subject team. Monitoring of recycling2go was conducted via a number of channels. A Citizens Panel survey indicated that the publicly preferred option for communication is leaflets (79%), followed by newspapers (34%) and personalised letters (33%). A relatively high proportion of residents were found to have access to the Internet at home (66%) but only 15% were prepared to use this as a communication channel with RBC. During a ‘pilot area’ survey, it was found that some 91% of respondents felt ‘satisfied’ in terms of being kept informed about the scheme. It was claimed that marketing and communications activities had ‘influenced’ some 75% of them to recycle more and newsletters (70%) were the most effective communication method. The estimated cost, above normal in-house, for the communications campaign was £56,000; at present this is difficult to compare with a wide-range of other LA campaigns as little data is available. The Borough recycling rate in 2001/2002 was 9.7%. The recycling rate during 2002/2003 in the recycling2go area was around 48%. It had reached close to 50% by December 2003, suggesting that RBC may become one of the UK’s highest performing local authorities (LAs). It can be argued that the RBC communications campaign has helped underpin the introduction of a highly successful kerbside scheme. To carry out a detailed, critical analysis would require a series of benchmarked studies by which to compare this campaign. However, such studies are, at present, relatively rare in the UK. What is apparent, is that in future all LAs must use standard communications methodology to design their campaign and this requires highly trained and competent staff—not generalists.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kerbside, recycling, marketing, communications, strategy
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering > TD783 Municipal refuse. Solid wastes > TD793.9 Waste minimisation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences > GE300 Environmental management
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering > TD794.5 Recycling
Creators: Mee, N, Clewes, D, Phillips, Paul S and Read, Adam D
Publisher: Elsevier
Northamptonshire and East Midlands: Environment
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Centre for Research into Sustainable Wastes Management
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Science and Technology (2010-2016)
Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Environmental Science
Research Centres > Environment Research Group
Date: August 2004
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 1-26
Journal or Publication Title: Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume: 42
Number: 1
Language: English
ISSN: 0921-3449
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes

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