Horsham District Council (HDC) decided to undertake a short door stepping campaign with waste advisors to increase recycling and participation rates and appointed Resource Futures to deliver the recruitment and training of the waste advisors. The project resulted in a 45% increase in recycling within the target areas and a reduction in contamination in Horsham’s lowest performing areas. These changes lead to potential savings of nearly £140,000 over a year.
The objectives of the project were to:
- Recruit four waste advisors to work on behalf of HDC.
- Train the waste advisors to become confident in door-stepping and knowledgeable about Horsham’s recycling and refuse collection schemes, as well as broader waste concepts.
- Train the council officers to make the most of the extra resource.
Horsham District Council commissioned us to assist in recruiting for a project which aimed to increase recycling and decrease contamination and residual waste levels. As part of the project preparations, we re-wrote the job description to increase the appeal and undertook desk-based research to identify ideal candidates for this type of role. We then delivered a targeted recruitment campaign focusing on undergraduates and recent graduates – those who wanted to gain experience of this kind – and recruited a team of four.
A three day training programme was delivered, beginning with desk-based training on day one, with overviews and information about waste policy, Horsham’s recycling and refuse collection strategy, benefits of recycling, techniques for talking, barriers to participation and behaviour change tactics as well as Health and Safety measures.
On the second day, the advisors were taken to the local Materials Recycling Facility to provide further insight about recycling. The rest of the day was spent door-stepping on selected streets where we shadowed them, providing additional training and tips.
The third day focused on training the council officers on how to monitor the performance of the team to ensure they are performing as efficiently as possible. Basic data analysis techniques were also covered, to help HDC make the most of data collected during the fieldwork.
For HDC, the outcomes have all been positive. The project targeted over 14,000 properties – nearly 25% of the Horsham District, including all the identified low performance areas (LPAs). The team covered all identified LPA’s, then moved on to new builds and flats.
Furthermore, the Council has achieved multiple savings across the project, including:
- Reduced disposal costs – an estimated 1,900 tonnes was diverted from landfill over 12 months, saving over £160,000 in landfill tax per year.
- Rejected loads were reduced, and contamination dropped to an average 4.64%, below the 6% target.
- Additional recycling generated potential extra Recycling Payments Mechanism (RPM) payments of around £15,000.
The scheme has been so successful that what was an initial 6-month campaign in a single district has now turned into an 18-month, county-wide programme due to increased recycling rates and lower contamination.
During a time of public sector cuts and pressure on communications budgets, Horsham District Council has demonstrated that investment in high quality door-stepping provides multiple dividends: through financial performance, recycling rates, avoidance of landfill, environmental protection and collection efficiencies. Key to this is the recruitment of the right personnel and effective training, with expert insight into behaviour change economics and recycling and waste policies.