Engaging social housing residents with waste reduction

By Livvy Drake

I have been delivering a lot of bespoke presentations recently on behaviour change for waste, which means I have been doing lots of research on successful initiatives.

Waste – it’s mine, it’s yours

One was for ActionFunder and young people living on social housing estates, so I was inspired to hear about the work done by ‘Waste – it’s mine, it’s yours’ by Anthea Rossouw.

Despite the perceptions that people on social housing sites are not engaged with waste and are a highly transiant population, the project proved otherwise.

Working with 24 social housing sites the project conducted community engagement and resident led initiatives; rather than telling them what to do.

This co-creation approach lead to:

Waste reduction

Some sites receiving up to 50% recycling rates and increased quality of recycling

Reduced littering

Increased sense of community and pride in their local area.

Steps taken, depending on the needs of the social housing estate involved a lot of infrastructure changes:

Changing the bin set-up to be more useful

Providing compost caddies and on-site compost bins

Improving bin storage areas

Improving accessibility for people with physical challenges

Developing clearer signage bespoke to each site

Setting up the collection of additional materials, including small WEEE, textiles, batteries and items for reuse.

Ecosurety fund

ReLondon has similar successes by improving infrastructure around social housing in Lambeth, through the Ecosurety fund.

This approach demonstrates the power of collaboration and the importance of infrastructure in driving behaviour change.

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