How green is my valley?
Green Rewards commissioned us to monitor and evaluate a scheme to encourage the residents of the Rother local authority area to lead more sustainable lives.
Local Green Points (LGP) was an incentive scheme run by the Local Authority Rother District Council and funded by DEFRA (The Department for The Environment and Rural Affairs). The scheme addressed areas such as waste management, health, public transport and energy and carbon efficiency.
We were asked to:
- Assess the impact that the scheme had on the attitudes and behaviours of local residents
- Explore motivations for, and barriers against, taking part in the scheme
- Measure changes in attitudes and behaviour towards the scheme
A mixture of quantitative and qualitative research was undertaken as part of this project. Firstly, we carried out research before the project began to form a baseline. This meant we could measure changes in attitude and behaviour after the introduction of the Local Green Points scheme in its test area.
Once the project started, we carried out 250 telephone interviews with an adult member of a randomly chosen sample of households. The interview was kept deliberately short to ensure a good response rate, taking between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.
The telephone surveys were repeated over a two year period and covered the following key points:
- How strongly residents felt they belonged to their local area
- The extent to which their household recycled different items of household waste
- Their household’s general attitude to recycling
- Whether they feel their household recycling had varied over the last 12 months, if at all
- Satisfaction levels with the council’s recycling provision
- Awareness of the Rother Valley Points Scheme
We also held one focus group for each area. Participants were chosen to represent the population of the area in age, gender and recycling behaviour. Topics discussed included:
- the community spirit
- satisfaction with local services
- attitudes, barriers and behaviour towards recycling
- methods of encouraging greater levels of recycling
The research showed most households recognised the importance of recycling. Also increasing amounts were being recycled.
The Green Points scheme was liked by most. However, rewarding the community was felt by most to be a more powerful incentive than rewarding the individual. Communication and feedback were also found to be important. Being thanked, knowing how well their area was doing on recycling and knowing how much money the council was saving as a result were all seen as key incentives.
The Local Authority were able to use this research to help further promote recycling within the local community areas.