Recycle Week 2021 – Increasing Resident Participation with Ease of Use
Recycle Week, Recycle Now’s flagship annual event, celebrates recycling across the country from 20th – 26th September 2021. It is the one week of the year that retailers, brands, waste management companies, trade associations, governments, and the media gather together to achieve one goal: encouraging a greater number of people to recycle correctly. This year’s theme is Step it Up this Recycle Week – by increasing our recycling habits, we can contribute to the global fight against climate change.
Ease of use can increase recycling participation in hard-to-reach areas
Increasing resident participation in recycling is a key priority for many housing associations and landlords. Efforts to drive increased participation in waste reduction and recycling typically focus on three core areas:
Schemes enabling communities to earn local green points as a reward for increased waste reduction and recycling have been trialled. Points are earned as a community as the amount of rubbish sent for disposal reduces. Points are then distributed equally between participants and can be redeemed to purchase environmentally friendly products.
Raising awareness and educating residents through local recycling champions and resources such as posters and leaflets in communal bin rooms can help encourage recycling participation. This does, however, require sustained effort over time to ensure campaigns remain visible and relevant to local communities.
The facilitation of recycling hubs is often one of the best options to gain maximum participation from residents and change long held waste disposal habits. A key strategy to encourage residents to recycle is to ensure easy access to communal waste and recycling bins, this can be within the grounds of the block or placed in convenient locations in the street.
Simple actions like lifting bin lids can discourage residents from handling them, or some may be physically unable to lift them to put items in. These are all potential barriers to recycling that need to be considered. metroSTOR bin housings facilitate this by allowing users to drop their recycling straight into the appropriate container without the need to touch dirty bin lids, and the apertures also prevent contamination of refuse. Given the current pandemic and the emphasis on hygiene, this is an excellent feature to be considered.
We have created a number of useful resources which may be of interest on this topic. Our 10 point guide to successful communal bin store facilities may be of further help when planning and encouraging increased recycling rates in your area. In addition, our article Considered design helps improve recycling rates! highlights the role good design can play in encouraging positive recycling habits.
Brentford Towers, London Borough of Hounslow
metroSTOR were able to help the London Borough of Hounslow with their residents recycling efforts. When they chose to develop their fire safety strategy, the Grenfell tragedy was a significant impetus for change. They chose to decommission refuse chutes, chute rooms, and refuse stores since these were recognized as potential fire hazards.
A suitable alternative needed to be found and metroSTOR bin housings were selected. Six 22-story blocks, known as Brentford Towers, were a starting point for the development. Bin housings were placed externally to form a waste and recycling hub in accessible locations outside each block.
Effective resident communication was highlighted as a key starting point – to ensure the main goal is understood and achieved by all involved. Allowing residents to discuss problems that they have with current recycling facilities provides an opportunity for landlords to recognise the barriers and alleviate those concerns. Residents were keen to recycle but found chute hoppers easier to use due to being conveniently located. Navigating fly-tipping and lifting heavy bin lids were also highlighted as reasons why residents did not recycle correctly.
It was reported that three months after installation, residents were commenting on how much more pleasant the environment was without litter and odour. The caretaker’s work had been reduced as the volume of recycling had been increased.
metroSTOR is invested in innovating and providing solutions to facilitate ease of recycling and help transform neighbourhoods for the residents who live and work there. As such we fully support the celebration of recycling across the nation and look forward to being part of the conversations resulting from Recycle Week 2021.