Waste Aware Scotland Recycling Campaign


Best Green Advertising Award (Press and Outdoor / Effectiveness)


Waste Aware Scotland Recycling Campaign

Background & Objective

Between 2002 and 2008 the Waste Aware Scotland recycling campaign helped increase Scotland’s recycling rate from 5% to over 30%. The campaign was re-branded with the aim of optimising public use of recycling facilities in order to achieve Scotland’s recycling targets of 40% by 2010 and 50% by 2013.

This will be achieved by:

  • Promoting the use of existing local recycling services
  • Promoting new local recycling services
  • Using branded products to emphasise the range of materials accepted for recycling
  • Closing the packaging loop by linking the campaign to the UK On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme


Waste Aware Scotland was set up in 2000 with the aim of changing public attitudes and behaviour towards reduce, reuse and recycle. The recycling campaign is therefore fundamental to their work.

The campaign is a partnership between Waste Aware Scotland, Local Authorities, the British Retail Consortium and a large number of national and global retailers and brands. The campaign helps to close the packaging loop and enables each partner to act more sustainably. It allows retailers and brands to promote the recyclability of their products whilst maximising capture of materials for recycling. This helps local authorities reach their recycling targets, retailers and brands to reach their corporate social responsibility targets and the public to engage in a positive environmental behaviour.



The Waste Aware Scotland Recycling campaign is implemented at the local level by local authorities, community sector organisations and businesses. The campaign is adapted to promote individual recycling facilities and emphasises the specific materials collected through local recycling services. A wide range of communication materials are used to promote local campaign messages, for example:

  • Outdoor advertising – e.g. 48 sheets, agripa panels
  • Bin stickersInformation posters
  • Press advertsInformation displays – e.g. pull up banners


These forms of advertising were selected as they have the ability to reach the largest number of people.



The Waste Aware Scotland recycling campaign is aimed at Scottish householders in every local authority in Scotland. The messages used in the communication materials are clear and concise to allow everyone to understand and use their recycling services effectively. The use of real branded products means that the campaign is accessible for people with limited language skills or who are not fluent in English.

The campaign is not age or profile specific however it can be easily modified to suit a particular sector or audience if required. For example, images of products used by school age children were selected for a school recycling certificate, bin decal and poster



Following the first campaign in Fife Council at the end of 2008 Waste Aware Scotland commissioned independent market research to appraise the effectiveness of the recycling campaign. Some key results are outlined below:

- 70% of research participants were aware of the campaign unprompted

- Two thirds of participants (65.9%) claimed to be putting more paper waste into their blue bin following the implementation of the campaign and similarly two thirds (66.4%) reported recycling more cardboard via their blue bin

- Three quarters of research participants (75.5%) reported that they are now placing different types of paper and card in the blue bin

In addition SEPA waste data flow indicates substantial increases in the weight of paper and card collected. An average increase of 25.7% in annual collection tonnages was recorded.
The campaign had an audience of around 360,000 people.



The first campaign, promoting the paper and card kerbside recycling service in Fife, cost £160,000 (inc VAT). This included a radio advert, press ads, outdoor ads, bin decals, media space, creative concepts, staff time and a launch event with a celebrity.

The Waste Aware Scotland recycling campaign is delivered at a local level across Scotland by local authorities. The budget is therefore up to each individual local authority however costs for subsequent campaigns have been lower as the creative concept has already been developed.