Waste Watchers helps University lose hundreds of kilos (of landfill): Recycling behaviour change campaign spearheaded by monsters!

Under its Ecoversity sustainability program, the University of Adelaide commissioned Ecocreative to help create a fun way to engage students and staff in recycling. Colourful signage bin wraps of recycling and landfill ‘monsters’ were created to show a diverse audience what is suitable for waste and recycling. The installation was followed by an intensive ‘Waste Watchers’ campaign, to decrease waste to landfill and increase ‘uncontaminated’ recycling.

Ecocreative’s bin wrap designs and content interpreted empty square bin-top holes as the open mouths of hungry limbo-dancing, waste-and-recycling-munching monsters. The yellow recycling angel and a red waste demon (cross-culturally recognisable symbols) were given x-ray stomachs to show what ‘food’ they liked and voice bubbles featuring helpful icons identifying items suitable for recycling or waste disposal.

 

As part of the project’s second phase, Ecocreative mapped out the Uni’s large Learning Hub facility and observed student and staff movements, identifying that not only did the students need to be reminded of a duty of care at the time of disposal, but that the process starts much earlier — with an informed decision at the point of purchase (aided by stickers on products and counter-top advertising).

Other elements of the campaign included: monster menu brochures (doubling as mini posters), large dual-purpose campaign stickers, and DIY cutout templates for temporary cardboard signage.

Prior to the campaign, most recycling bins left the Learning Hub with at least 30% contamination (waste mingled with recycling). Everyone was delighted to learn that the campaign resulted in recycling volumes being greater than landfill for the first time.