Time and space for increasing recycling behaviours in Bristol

The Bristol Waste recycling community engagement team were keen to upskill in behavioural science and have a day to focus on their current projects to identify further opportunities to deliver change. 

The teams are working with engaging an array of audiences. From people who live in flats, transient residents like students and people who are attending events for the day. All with varying levels of environmental interest or concern.  

A bespoke workshop identifying waste behaviour barriers and solutions 

The workshop format was a balance of practical and theoretical content with five groups considering five different challenge areas

Rather than just jumping into solutions, the team spent the morning delving into: 

In the afternoon, we showed them different behavioural science-influenced examples of change. Fueled by biscuits and caffeine the groups filled their tables with post-it notes of ideas and solutions, asking ´How Might We….. deliver cognitive, infrastructure and social changes’ that would address the barriers for their target audience.

Immediate actions from the workshop

As well as lots of ideas, the teams went away with approaches and tools for their day-to-day work, including a bespoke workbook.

Immediate applications from the workshop included the Innovation and Sustainability Team reviewing and editing the standard letters that they give with these changes:

Formatting and design changes to make it more compelling and accessible

Thanking residents for doing the desirable behaviours

Using social proof that others are doing the same thing and that they are part of something bigger

Removal of the “don’t” list – which reinforces that other people do these behaviours

“We really got a lot out of the workshop. Recently I went through a set of our letters that we send out regularly and applied the behaviour change principles we learnt to improve them, and these are now going to flats across the City”

Kathy Tate (she/her),
Innovation & Sustainability