Enventure were commissioned by Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority on behalf of the Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership to undertake a large-scale public consultation as to how household waste should be managed in the future in Merseyside. The research was part of the development of the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy that sets out how waste across Merseyside will be dealt with from 2012 to 2020. The information and opinions gathered from a broad audience of Merseyside residents was used to;
- Ensure the revised Strategy reflects residents’ views and aspirations
- Improve the quality of policy and decision making by drawing on knowledge from local people
- Raise awareness and understanding of sustainable waste management and wider related environmental, economic and social issues
A variety of qualitative and quantitative research approaches used to generate a two way dialogue with as diverse range of residents as possible was covered. Over the three month consultation period, Enventure managed;
- A Doorstep survey with over 3,000 residents covering a variety of environmental and waste issues
- Roadshows and on the spot surveys in 5 locations from Liverpool city centre to Southport sea front
- 10 focus groups focussing on talking to hard to reach audiences
- A 6 week Online Research Community using weekly surveys, quick polls and forums to discuss various environmental issues at length with a panel of over 50 residents
- The Don’t Waste Your Say website
- A newsletter distributed across the regions both at the start the of the project and to publicise key findings
- The use of Twitter and Facebook to promote the Consultation and generate discussion
- A dedicated telephone helpline to answer resident questions
A vital part of the work Enventure carried out was the design, development and use of the Don’t Waste Your Say website which allowed residents not only to be informed of what was happening as part of the Public Consultation but also was a way of participating in the research.
Across the public consultation, the views of c.3,500 people living in Merseyside were canvassed. In general, people were keen to help protect the environment, reduce the amount and also prevent household waste being produced. The majority of respondents claimed to be actively doing more to care for the environment that they did two years ago but this appears to be driven in large part out of economic necessity and the desire to save money as well as concerns for saving the planet.
Such activity appears driven by the high participation rates reported in kerbside recycling collection schemes and the success of food waste collection and home composting recently introduced by some local Councils in Merseyside. Residents’ satsifaction with waste collection and disposal services was high across all demogrpahic groups and local Council areas, however, gnereal awareness and understanding of the role and wider remit of the MWDA was poor.
The findings clearly show a need for increased communication with residents on the positive impact they can make at earlier stages in the waste management cycle, for example by providing support for consumers to make better choices when shopping e.g. choosing local produce, energy efficient goods and easily recyclable packaging or using renewable Bags for Life at the supermarket. Residents also felt that a greater emphasis was needed on individuals and the public and private sectors working together to achieve a more cohesive and effective waste management across Merseyside.
“Enventure has delivered a good campaign for Merseyside on time and to budget and met the aims and objectives of a complicated brief successfully…Having been pleased with their approach and delivery, I would be happy to use Enventure in any future research work.”
Stuart Donaldson, Waste Strategy Manager at Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority
Benefits to Client
The Public Consultation raised awareness of the issues surrounding waste management as well as the services provided by the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority. It also highlighted areas of best practice and the need for more education and promotion of the wider issues across Merseyside.
Public feedback on the shortlisted strategic aims of the Strategy enabled the client to take into account the needs of the residents when developing the strategy. Residents felt the MWDA should prioritise aims that specifically related to increasing recycling rates, affecting behavioural change, ensuring sustainable economic activity and developing renewable energy potential of waste management.