It’s not everyday that someone recognises the work you do and when they do it’s certainly worth celebrating. On this occasion a new approach by Waste Aware Scotland has reaped rewards. What is the new approach and how is it different from what came before I hear you ask. Well my dear reader, settle down and I’ll tell you.
Back in the days when recycling in Scotland was a new thing to do (in the early part of this new millenium) Waste Aware Scotland realised that showing people pictures of food cans with bits of food on them or rubbish all covered with other rubbish was unlikely to be effective in getting people to recognise their waste as a resource. So the decision was taken by our erstwhile leader, Nicki Souter (above), to use stylised black and white images of empty bottles, cans, boxes etc. to “normalise” waste. In other words to make people see that an empty bottle is a thing of worth – not a thing to be thrown away at the earliest opportunity.
Over time the Scottish public really took this message on board and we now recycle over 33% of waste in Scotland, a huge achievement. It is widely recognised that materials have value and should be preserved and appreciated for what they have done and what they can do in future. So a drink can has the potential to live again, provided we place it into our recycling bins.
A few years ago our approach evolved. Gone were the black and white images and in came high-resolution, colour photos which served a similar purpose but refreshed and updated the materials we used around Scotland, in conjunction with most of the Local Authorities.
Last year the approach evolved again, this time in a fairly revolutionary way. The idea was to get specific – to relate to people’s actual experience of dealing with their waste. To show people what goes where and link this to actual products and real life brands. This was a major undertaking because permission had to be obtained from the manufacturers, retailers and others to show their images in a waste context. We had to convince them that we would be respectful of their logos and packaging. Most agreed with our approach and were happy to sign up. Without this agreement the new style would have never worked so we must give thanks to big businesses who recognise the importance of recycling. We also need to thank local authorities who, in conjunction with our campaign officers, have embraced and rolled out the new style in their areas.
The new style is easily transferable to any situation where waste can be segregated. It can be produced on posters, leaflets, truck signage, postcards or anywhere else that the public might look. Speaking of which, we also need to give thanks to you, the Scottish public, for coming on this journey and putting your waste in the right place to allow local authorities to process it.
The Communication Award we have received from the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) recognises the power of the approach we have taken.
Details of why we won are as follows:
ISWA is proud to announce that “Waste Aware Scotland Recycling Campaign” has been awarded the ISWA Communication Award 2009.
The jury found that overall the communications campaign run by Waste Aware Scotland to enhance the recovery of waste from households and therefore to meet national recycling targets was the best of the four nominations put forward for the ISWA Communications award in 2009. The members of the judging panel were impressed by several aspects of the communications campaign, including:
• Piloting of the campaign
• The buy-in from stakeholders, especially food manufacturers and retailers
• Your range of presentation materials
• Linking local municipalities into a national campaign
• The extensive evaluation of the results.
The judging panel therefore felt that this campaign could act as an exemplar for other organisations seeking to raise awareness of the considerable range of products and materials which households could place in recycling bins.
Of course, all the awards in the world mean little if we do not achieve our real goal which is to minimise waste to landfill in Scotland. View a video of the award ceremony, featuring Richard Lochhead MSP, on YouTube by clicking here.