Diverting Peterborough’s food waste from landfill through the successful launch of a new food waste collection service with a real universal appeal.
Our challenge was to meet strict new targets for PCC to increase overall recycling rates in the city.
With only a six-month remit, we needed to make the biggest impact possible with all target audiences and ensure a successful uptake of the initiative in order to meet the government-imposed targets for the area.
To achieve this, the focus was on how to educate the residents of Peterborough about the impact of food waste on landfill and how they can do their bit, particularly in areas where recycling had low-to-mid level uptake.
There were varying levels of challenge within this, including:
- How to ensure that food waste is disposed of correctly – including knowledge of what types of foods and waste can or can’t be collected in this service
- Make a somewhat boring or uninteresting subject matter exciting, attractive and able to engage multiple age groups / cross gender and culture in line with Peterborough’s highly diverse demographics
- Overcome multiple language and cultural barriers
Strategically, this campaign needed to influence and deliver ‘action’. Adopting a growth approach was essential, but as it was the launch of new service, it was equally as essential to deliver intensive education and awareness building during all stages of the campaign.
We agreed that a multi-channel, integrated campaign would be the most effective way to reach multiple audiences, designed to have universal appeal, and complete audience inclusivity.
Additionally, we took a bias on reaching out to children – leverage their natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn and desire to ‘help the planet’. The premise of this was for children to inspire and influence their parents, families and friends to take-up the scheme.
The programme was delivered through a series of timed, proactive events and promotional material distributed across the city, over a specific 6-month time period, including pre-launch (get ready for…); launch (take action); and post-launch (reminder of why…).
The foundation of the campaign was in the creation of a complete brand identity and toolkit for the new food waste collection service. We created a synergy between the core values of the council, the waste contractor, and the benefits of diverting food waste from landfill. We delivered a consistent look and feel, including logos, graphics, imagery, illustrations, fonts, key messaging and guidance. A a series of ‘memorable’ brand characters – Hungry Harry and Recycling Rita – were also developed by the team to help promote the initiative in a fun and engaging way for everybody.
It would not be possible to recreate the huge series of brand collateral in the many languages and cultural nuances that can be found in the city of Peterborough. Due to this, the visual element of the campaign had to incorporate a very clear, common graphical language to convey certain instructions such as what can and can’t be recycled.
The campaign also involved deployment of content across multiple channels, including gaining coverage and engagement through a standalone website; bin stickers, waste truck signage/wraps; social media platforms; local newspapers and magazines; televised news channels; key billboard and poster sites proprietary education seminars; talks at schools and colleges; piggybacking on public events in community hang-outs such as the town park, shopping centres, schools, colleges and community centres etc, for which bespoke costumes were created for Hungry Harry, and Recycling Rita and worn to engage with families in Peterborough.
Thanks to OlsenMetrix for all their support with this campaign which adopted a radically new approach to the development of key messages while addressing all the barriers to adoption of the new scheme. It’s been a great experience working with you all, thanks for your patience and professionalism in particular!
Greg Hutton-Squire, Waste Partnership Officer – Peterborough City Council
Impact & Value
As a result of the campaign, 1000 tonnes of food waste were collected within the first 12 weeks, with the campaign eventually going on to be nominated at the National Recycling Awards. The campaign increased Peterborough’s overall recycling rate by 4% during the year in which it was deployed.