who cultivated the relationship with the client, Bristol City Council
With The Grain – behavioural insights for local government
Grand Prix winner, 2015 Nudge Awards, with Ealing Council
Advisor on Behavioural Insights to Sunderland City Council
• 178 households in Bristol
• 2 stickers, 1 leaflet
• 172 households observed on a collection round and messages distributed
• Observation over two weeks saw uplift to +28%.
• In practice, at population level, our results point to a participation jump from the current 50% of households to the 58-64% range
6 households were visited as part of qualitative/ethnographic phase
• Good recyclers have a ‘holding place’ in the home. The ‘holding space’ is usually a box or shelf.
• Food waste sorters do it bit-by-bit, hour-by-hour, day-by-day: taking out food waste as the caddy fills
• There is a ‘lead person’ in-home who drives the house to conform, and more
Co-production workshop ran to chose and how to deliver revealed themes, such as food waste, house ‘cheerleader’, student flats, etc.
Food waste chosen as best candidate for measurable improvement.
From initial sketch, to worked up, to final version, designed incorporating behavioural principles, such as:
• Observer effect
• Proximal language
• Proximal imagery
Households across two locations were chosen from ~1400 potentials.
• Sticker: Household which recycles nothing, n=57
• Sticker: Household which does some dry recycling but not food, n=54
• Leaflet: Household which does some dry recycling but not food, n=61
Observations for two collections (over two
weeks) post intervention
The single, one-time-only leaflet (shown), delivered to the ‘high hanging fruit’ who don’t recycle food waste,
• Increased the level of food waste recycling across the experimental population (n=61) by at least 16% – with a total of 28% households leaving food waste out at least once.
This treatment as it is the most scalable and straightforward, offering the best RoI
• The project also tested sticker treatments. Each was similarly successful.
• In practice, at population level, our results point to a participation jump from 50% of households to the 58-64% range
“Findings show that we need to look at things differently if we want different results. Behaviour inside the home is something overlooked, and if we understand, we can tailor communication and make a real difference.”
Pam Jones, Commissioning lead at Bristol City Council
“Communications need a personal touch. The UK’s household recycling rate is stubbornly hovering below 50%. Warren Hatter and Oliver Payne believe that gentle persuasion could get it moving again.”
The industry magazine, Materials Recycling World, 2017
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