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Recycling behaviour and awareness

Client: Devon County Council
Sector: Public sector
Service: Behavioural and attitudinal research,Brand Awareness and Advertising research
Added July 21st 2015

Background

Recycle Devon (formerly the Devon Authorities Recycling Partnership) wanted to ‘benchmark’ public awareness of, and engagement in, ‘recycling’ - capturing a number of key attitudes towards, and behaviours regarding, recycling and waste minimisation. Additionally it wanted to gain a measure of awareness of its advertising and the effects which each campaign may have on Public attitudes and behaviours.

Challenge

The challenge, was to develop and implement a methodology which would be representative of, and ‘benchmark’ Public attitudes and behaviours at this ‘point in time’ – but could be used to subsequently ‘track’ how these attitudes and behaviours change over time – particularly any changes as a result of DARP advertising campaigns.

Solution

In order to best achieve representivity of the Devon population (excluding Plymouth and Torbay) through ‘quota sampling’ (by geo-socio-demographic) and to facilitate the use of unprompted and prompted questioning (with the use of stimulus materials such as advertising creatives) – a face-to-face methodology was recommended covering all 8 districts of Devon covered by DARP. The questionnaire was developed in such a way that a number of ‘core’ questions were constructed – which could be re-surveyed over time to obtain tracking data – with some room for a number of ‘one-off’ questions which were of particular interest to the client at that time.

Outcome

Now successfully in our 12th year of tracking – using a robust sample size of 1,100 interviews spread across the 8 districts of Devon – we have amassed a considerable wealth of data. We have been able to identify how attitudes towards recycling have become more positive over the years and the extent to which this has impacted upon the number of people recycling (and the frequency with which they recycle). 

Using a pre- and post-campaign survey cycle, we have identified how awareness of DARP (and its web site) has grown, and the advertising methods which have had the most impact. The ability to ‘add’ questions to the core questionnaire on a wave-by-wave basis has proved extremely important with topics ranging from home composting to washable nappies being evaluated in the last few years.