Innovative communications to increase metal packaging recycling rates across Suffolk

A Suffolk-based recycling communication programme has inspired an increase in metal packaging recycling rates across the county.

Metal packaging recyclingThe county of Suffolk is a primarily rural area, with urban centres including Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds. When it comes to waste management, the County’s six Local Authorities work together through the Suffolk Waste Partnership.

With fortnightly co-mingled collections for recycling, alongside separate services for general waste and compostables, the Partnership is committed to improving capture rates, minimising unnecessary contamination and maximising the value of recyclable materials collected at the kerbside.

As such, in October 2022, the Partnership rolled out a six-week communications programme with the aim of increasing consumer awareness about best practice recycling and inspiring a measurable increase in metal packaging recycling rates. ‘MetalMatters’ saw households targeted with a number of highly visual assets through predominantly digital communications channels.

An interactive, animated video was promoted through paid-for Facebook posts, while wider proactive content was also shared through the Partnership’s Instagram and Twitter feeds. In addition, the campaign saw adverts appear across the local press and radio, as well as on the side of key bus services.

In further support, TATA Steel, a long-term funding partner of MetalMatters, arranged a number of visits to local schools, with the simple goal of promoting the benefits of metal recycling to primary-aged children in a fun and engaging fashion.

When it came to campaign visuals and messaging, simplicity was considered critical. Rather than simply asking consumers to recycle, the programme inspired positive action by detailing the new products that recycled metal can be made into – from smartphones and bicycles, to watches and domestic appliances.

In total, during the six-week campaign, assets reached more than 164,000 households across the County. Social media analysis reported high engagement rates – especially with the older demographic – while website click-through rates increased significantly.

Increased metal packaging recycling rates in Suffolk

Over the following six months, Suffolk Waste Partnership saw aluminium can kerbside collection volumes increase by more than 5 per cent, while total metal packaging recycling rates increased alongside. A simple campaign, but one that delivered a proven impact on yield.

Commenting on the campaign, Rob Cole, Suffolk Waste Partnership Manager, said: “The campaign was a great success, reaching tens of thousands of households and helping them to recycle more of their aluminium and steel packaging. Our communications were bright, bold and engaging, both online and offline, with the added bonus of providing a platform to promote Suffolk’s other recycling services.”

Tom Giddings, Executive Director of Alupro – the organiser of MetalMatters, added: “MetalMatters is a widely proven educational initiative, with numerous local authorities across the UK having reported successful results after rolling out the campaign. Alongside increasing awareness about the importance of recycling, the programme helps to influence consumer behaviour and deliver positive change when it comes to capture volumes and recyclate quality.

“Taking a predominantly digital approach, implementing the campaign across Suffolk delivered an almost immediate impact. It’s hugely positive to see increased yield data and hear the positive feedback of representatives from the Waste Partnership.”

For more information about MetalMatters visit, or read the full Case Study here.

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