Environmental Information Exchange

Communicating waste efficiency to users

All site users produce waste and their decisions direct affect whether the item is disposed of, recycled, reused, or even reduced.  Members of an organisation need to understand what decisions there are for all possible waste materials, including those that are infrequently created.  Further, users may need to understand the wider benefits of good waste management.  Making staff aware of procedures and demonstrating how savings from reduction are reinvested can be very successful in convincing staff to engage fully in new energy reduction schemes.

Successful communication is part of an overall awareness programme.  Most have the following elements:

Actions – these need to be clear, easy to understand and to do.  Eg What items are meant to go into recycling bins might be conveyed in a number of locations as well as locating the bins in obvious and easily accessible places.

Communication mediums – staff and other building users are provided with a huge amount of information.  Messages about waste management need to be well timed, concise, and novel enough to catch people’s attention.  A certain amount of innovation can be used to improve the way that waste information is delivered.

Upper management support - If the upper management of an organisation supports good waste management practices, the evidence must go beyond the board room.  Part of a communication plan considers how clear upper management support is for waste reduction.  For example are the waste and recycling bins the same in all offices? Is waste behaviour mentioned together with other employee expectations?  The more support shown, the more successful the campaign.

Using environmental champions – Those most passionate about good waste practice can be outstanding heralds for other users.  The enthusiasm of champions can be a powerful force for raising awareness.

There are resources on the WRAP website for communicating waste efficiency.