Report of Michelle Whitfield, Head of Communications & Behavioural Change, GMCA Waste and Resources Team.
Michelle Whitfield, Head of Communications and Behavioural Change, GMCA Waste and Resources Team updated the Committee on the latest communication and engagement activities.
The National Food Waste Action Week had taken place at the beginning of March which had been a relevant and useful campaign and the social media response was positive, howevMichelle Whitfield, Head of Communications and Behavioural Change, GMCA Waste and Resources Team updated the Committee on the latest communication and engagement activities.
The National Food Waste Action Week had taken place at the beginning of March which had been a relevant and useful campaign and the social media response was positive, however the results were still awaited from WRAP.
The Education Team had been undertaking virtual sessions to support home schooling and community groups in their waste and recycling messaging. Feedback had been positive and there were some interesting lessons to have been learnt. The Education Centre was now undergoing a refit to ensure that it could be as interactive as possible as it begins to be used again.
There was an ongoing campaign in relation to the appropriate disposal of nappies, as often these were mistakenly put in the paper re-cycling bin and in support of this, Keep Britain Tidy had written to nappy manufacturers to identify further ways they could promote these key messages. There had been a particular targeted campaign undertaken with Tameside Council which was to be compiled into a case study from which further lessons could be learnt regarding future campaigns, however officers were well aware that behavioural change takes time, and the results of such campaigns may not be seen immediately. Members reported the initial difference that this campaign had made and welcomed the efforts of the Communications Team. Further to this, Members suggested that some specific communications regarding the disposal of nappies be included with information packs for new parents.
In addressing the wider issues regarding contamination of waste bins, there had been an increase of officers on the ground, with some Local Authorities employing additional officers to support residents to recycle correctly, especially with regards to paper waste. Further campaigns were planned post lockdown, including those with a focus on the correct disposal of mattresses and batteries. Members questioned as to the use of volunteers in promoting recycling activity, officers agreed to look into this option but reported that often local recruitment for short term paid work has been effective as they have had a greater understanding of the communities in which they live. Furthermore, Members suggested that a standard use of pictorial instructions for bin use would allow for a clear GM shared message to become easily recognisable and reduce incidents of confusion.
From June/July there would be extended opening hours for the recycle shops and a further communications campaign to raise awareness of what can be donated, and where items were to be sold.
The R4GM Fund was open for applications, and a Grants Manager had been recruited to help community groups to apply for funding. This opportunity had been actively promoted through the Greater Manchester networks.
In relation to social media coverage, the dashboard for January/February had indicated that interaction had dropped slightly since the new year. However, the vacant post for the Digital Communications Officer had not been recruited to, so further work in this area would be being developed. Members urged that this would be the perfect time to ramp up communications as post pandemic gave a fresh start for considering waste differently.
Members urged that the correct message that only plastic bottles can be recycled in Greater Manchester be further promoted, as current packaging was often incorrect in its labelling and this led to further confusion. Officers confirmed that Keep Britain Tidy were undertaking further work to reset the rules on accurate recycling guidance on packaging as they recognised that it was misleading to the consumer.
Those who chose not to recycle were recognised by the Committee as requiring a different approach to those who made mistakes with their recycling. Greater enforcement was called for to tackle those who repeatedly refuse to recycle as it had been proven that this was the most effective way to change behaviours. Officers agreed that different approaches were needed, and often tailored support had been proven to encourage people to recycle more.
It was considered that small general waste bins with insufficient room for larger families may result in them having to use their recycling bins for the incorrect waste. This had been raised previously with officers and it was anticipated that the new national guidelines may make a difference to the future size of general waste collections. However, it was also recognised that busy lives can often impact effective recycling and it was important to be flexible with bin provision to support the requirement of families with certain needs. This was reported to have been effective in Trafford, where families were able to request temporary additional facilities and in other incidents had shared bin space with their neighbours who needed less.
1. That the progress against the communications and behavioural change plan be noted.
2. That the progress on the joint SUEZ and R4GM communications and engagement plan be noted.
3. That consideration be given to the use of a standardised pictorial messaging in relation to re-cycling bins across Greater Manchester.
4. That further consideration be given as to how best to promote the correct method of nappy disposal to new parents.