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LARAC Scholar webinar summary and top tips for communication campaigns

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3 minutes

To share knowledge and best practice communication examples between local authorities, REPIC organised its first webinar on ‘Understanding and Shaping Attitudes to Waste and Recycling’ during Q4 2022 as part of its ongoing support of the LARAC Scholars programme.

Summary of the session

Sarah Downes, REPIC’s External Affairs Manager, shared insights from new research undertaken by REPIC around the ownership of small household electricals, disposal routes and lifespan of key products. While the second half of the webinar provided the audience of Scholars and LARAC Executive members the opportunity to share lessons learned in their local authority in helping to shape attitudes to waste and recycling.

Research findings

Key takeaways from the research shared by REPIC which influenced a recent communication campaign on International E-Waste Day:

  • 95% of UK households have at least one kettle, making it the most common electrical product found in UK households. Microwaves (91%) toasters (89%) laptops (81%) and hairdryers (79%) make up the top five most common electrical products in UK households
  • When it comes to multiple items USB sticks, laptops and headphones are the most commonly found electrical product in UK households
  • A third of UK households have at least one electrical product in their home that either definitely doesn’t work or they don’t know if it works
  • VHS players, ice cream makers and VR headsets are the most common electrical products that are most likely to be sat around unused in UK households
  • There are 11.7 million laptops in UK households that aren’t currently being used, the equivalent of every 2 in 5 households having a laptop that’s not used
  • On average an electrical item is replaced every seven years. Sewing machines have the longest lifespan, with the average sewing machine replaced every 18 years
  • 7 million unused but working tech electricals, worth a possible £5.63 billion, are currently hoarded in UK homes

Top tips for local authorities planning communications campaigns

In the second part of the Q4 webinar, discussions were held in three separate online groups. Collectively, each group shared some interesting advice to any local authorities planning a communication campaign:

Eight top tips include:

  1. Clear, simple communication is required to homeowners to help avoid contamination from incorrect items being deposited
  2. There is not a one size fits all communication approach, each local authority campaign needs to be tailored to the local demographic and population required to engage with the campaign -university end of term waste electrical recycling collections and pop up electrical waste collections in pubs and cafes were workable examples of this in action
  3. A mixed approach to communication works best – from door knocking through to digital and social media
  4. Don’t overlook traditional communication methods – libraries and community centres and parish groups are still a great way to interact and share key messages
  5. Use data and insights on waste collections to target parts of the collection route and/or key streets with specific communications messages
  6. Communication needs a sustained period of time for it to start making a difference
  7. Speak with a consistent message across all channels but use creative assets to ‘break the mould’ and try something new to create an impact
  8. Communications campaigns deliver a better return when related to future savings that could be achieved from better quality recycling being delivered into the collection network

The 22 LARAC Scholars will now join REPIC on at least one of three local waste electrical and electronic treatment facility site tours in early March 2023.


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