City of Saskatoon Recycling

  • Campaigns
The City of Saskatoon faces growing pressure on its landfill. With a deadline looming, the City needs to ramp up its citizens on waste diversion and recycling to delay significant capital expenditure.

In a province where space is abundant and recycling is a relatively new concept, it’s difficult for residents to understand why they need to change their behaviours to avoid future costs, let alone protect the environment. This complex issue required a multiple-pronged approach to help people understand the goals and benefits of recycling in the City.

The City of Saskatoon faces growing pressure on its landfill. With a deadline looming, the city needs to ramp up its citizens on waste diversion and recycling to delay significant capital expenditure. Education was determined to be paramount in helping Saskatoon residents adapt to the new realities around waste reduction. Most important was helping them understand what can actually be recycled and how. It was difficult to allay fears about costs, inconvenience and the simple advent of something new. The strategy was to use clear, simple language and imagery to help residents pick ideas up quickly.

Research

The City of Saskatoon has done extensive research on public opinion and knowledge of the issues around waste reduction in the City. They provided access to data and costs related to the new landfill and its operations, in addition to that of the existing one. The challenge was significant. For instance, Saskatoon's waste diversion rate sits at 22% as compared to Metro Vancouver's at nearly 80%. Ion took this deeper by working with City staff using empathy maps and personas to identify and examine the emotional triggers and cultural parameters around existing behaviours. This was synthesized and reflected back to the City before developing  strategy and approach.

Strategy

Education was determined to be paramount in helping Saskatoon residents adapt to the new realities around waste diversion. Most important was helping them understand what can actually be recycled and how. It was difficult to allay fears about costs, inconvenience and the simple advent of something new. The strategy was to use clear, simple language and imagery to help residents pick ideas up quickly.

Ion used a simple colour palette that worked with the City’s brand. Copy was limited and to the point. Imagery played a important role, showing residents the recyclable items.

Results

Building on the original 100% recyclable series, new campaigns have been developed to communicate changes in Saskatoon’s waste system and tackle issues of recycling contamination. Given citizen feedback, we moved to more simple imagery that can be deployed quickly and be more cost efficient. Each season we have focused on different aspects of diversion. Most recently contamination and hazardous materials.

Social media delivery has also evolved from campaign images to looping 15 second video shorts that deliver added content in a more entertaining method. These posts are tremendously successful in their engagement and click throughs to the City's Waste Wizard.

Given this campaign is still relatively new, we are waiting for empirical data on the uptake in waste diversion.

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