County Council reminds local residents to feed their green bins
For the past two years an innovative County Council has been reinforcing messages to residents to feed their green bins in a drive to increase food recycling and reduce food waste.
With a population of around half-a-million and 250,000 properties, Warwickshire County Council identified in 2014 that the average resident’s food and garden waste bin was only collecting 0.41kg of food waste.
Instead of using the green bins, residents instead continued to use their dry-waste grey bins to dispose of their food waste. In-fact, food waste made up 40% of the total waste in the average grey bin and was enough to fill Warwick Castle to a depth of 4 metres.
The county council wanted to reverse this trend to not only reduce costs on having to dispose of the food waste but to also encourage residents from throwing out food unnecessarily.
Warwickshire’s campaign “Grey to Green” focused on engaging with the residents to get them to change their behaviours. A key element to this was the introduction of the slogan “have you fed your green bin today”, which was splashed across all refuse vehicles and also used on other marketing materials such as bin stickers.
The council also used social networks to engage with as broad audience as possible, sending out tweets and also uploading to YouTube a step-by-step instruction video on how to dispose of food in the right way.
Communications around increasing food recycling were also combined with messages promoting reducing food waste and the campaign “Love Food Hate Waste”.
After initial scepticism, residents have taken the messages on-board and the council’s performance records on food recycling have improved significantly.
Key success have seen the average food capture in the green bin rise from 0.41kg to 0.7kg, a 71% jump, there has been an annual saving of £440,000 as food waste was being redirected to farms to use as compost rather than going into landfills and a reduction of 3,000 tonnes of CO2.
Working with WRAP to look at the impact of this campaign, the resource efficiency charity found that Warwickshire County Council is now collecting 40% more food waste than the average authority.
The campaign has been such a success that Warwickshire were finalists in the “best food waste imitative” and “team of the year” categories at the National Recycling Awards.
To find out more information about the scheme you can contact David Whitehouse via email or take a look at this good summary on LinkedIn.