Behind the scenes with the Clear on Plastics campaign

Well, here we are in February; and I for one am not quite sure where the time has gone since our last Clear on Plastics blog back in October. We’ve all since worked through a second lockdown and entered a third, and despite the many challenges that brings, the Clear on Plastics campaign has rolled on, continuing to build momentum, and cut through the confusion on plastics. Here, we’ll recap what’s been achieved and look ahead to what’s in store in 2021.

The Beauty Plastic Routine
November saw more than 75 Local Authority representatives take part in our Clear on Plastics webinar, and as a result an increase in the number of you following our social channels and supporting the campaign. We can’t emphasise enough just how much that support helps us all to get clear and consistent messages out to citizens, and to begin tackling the confusion around plastics.

Looking at where plastic packaging has its benefits, where it can be problematic, and what we can all do to reduce, refill, recycle and return more of it was the focus of our biggest campaign moment yet – The Beauty Plastics Routine. A digital campaign supported by carefully selected influencers and industry partners such as the Cosmetics Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal & Garnier, Terracycle, Maybelline, Carex and L’Occitane.

It generated a great deal of new content and had a fantastic response from partners and citizens alike, with a total of 2.4 million impressions and more than 33,000 citizen engagements logged across our own, partner and influencer activity combined.

There is still much to do but for a campaign that is in its first year, operating on a relatively small budget, we have collectively achieved a great deal, and everyone involved can be rightly proud of their contribution.

As with every campaign, we have also learnt a great deal and have already started to use our findings to inform campaign planning for the future. Some of what we learnt we’ll share with you here so that you can use it to help plan your own communications on plastics.

  • There is a huge appetite for this kind of content; evidenced by the reach and engagement measurements.
  • Instagram - and particularly Instagram Stories – generated lots of engagement and demonstrated an efficient return on investment.
  • Information on returning beauty product packaging performed particularly well
  • Partners showcasing their work via Clear on Plastics campaigns drew positive responses from citizens.
  • Using a single, clear call to action will drive stronger engagement and get results - eg: focus on one behaviour, or one key action, such as share or follow, but not both.
  • Videos perform well, but mix them up so viewers keep tuning in
  • Explore different content formats eg: TikTok.

Telling a Story on Plastics
Hot on the heels of the beauty campaign we explored the story of plastics, working with The University of Sheffield to deliver some eye-opening videos about the history, first uses and benefits of plastic; and in particular how plastics have developed in line with food packaging requirements over the decades. Check out @ClearOnPlastics to hear and share these fascinating stories with your residents and followers.

  Teabags – yes teabags! – were also a hot topic at the turn of the year, and January saw the launch of a new campaign theme looking at why there is plastic in teabags, whether there is a compostable solution, and the challenges that switching from one to the other might pose for brands.

There are of course options when it comes to choosing your tea, the brand you use, and determining how we can best dispose of the finished teabag - and we once again had a great response from Plastics Pact followers, supporters and partners, including Tata (Tetley), Taylors of Harrogate and The UK Tea and Infusions Association.

  

 

Next stop, the bathroom!
As we look ahead, we want to build on the successes to date and continue to work closely with Local Authorities, sending clear messages on how together we can reduce, refill, recycle and return more of the plastic we use.

Launching the next phase of the campaign we’ll be switching our focus to bathroom plastics. The sort of plastics that so often find their way into general waste and landfill. We’re talking specifically about plastic personal care, toiletries, cleaning and detergent products - and for the first time Recycle Now and Clear on Plastics will be joining forces to deliver the campaign, offering clear, consistent and practical guidance citizens can use in their homes.

 

This new focus and the collaboration with Recycle Now is based on insights gathered from the Recycling Tracker which identified confusion and missed capture of bathroom, personal care, toiletry and cleaning products. Where Recycle Now can cover direct citizen behaviour asks around recycling, Clear on Plastics can take a broader approach to the campaign, and together we’ll look to debunk the myths, and restore faith in ‘the four Rs’ (reduce, refill, recycle and return).

Bathroom campaign assets will be made available to Local Authorities shortly, so keep an eye out for those. In the meantime, please use these ready-made Clear on Plastics resources to help you spread the word in your communications, and follow @ClearOnPlastics on Twitter and Instagram for up to minute information and content we encourage you to share.

For more info about the support WRAP offers Local Authorities sign up to receive our dedicated monthly newsletter (selecting collections & recycling), or drop us an email at LA.Support@wrap.org.uk - and let’s continue our work together to change the conversation on plastics.

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