Golden Bin

The Golden Bin #Rubbish Selfie campaign was carried out in Manchester. Manchester has one of the largest student populations in Europe. Students are generally poor recyclers, often failing to prioritise recycling into their daily lives as others do.

Student recycling #Rubbish Selfie

Student recycling #Rubbish Selfie

The student recycling campaign was initiated to overcome issues with low recycling levels and high contamination rates in student rental areas in Manchester. Problems are generally caused as students move out of halls to privately rented accommodation after their first year; moving from a managed communal waste system to managing their own waste in domestic properties. Most students are unfamiliar with the ‘4 bin’ waste management system used in Greater Manchester.

To change students’ attitudes to recycling and engage fully with the target community of students, the campaign was delivered through social media offering a reward for correct recycling. Recycling ambassadors were also recruited through the Universities and encouraged to act as waste advisors in their community; as well as promoting the competition. The campaign and its communications were developed with the help of student volunteers and existing student groups.


Student recycling with British Heart Foundation

Student recycling with British Heart Foundation

During the campaign we ran a competition called #RubbishSelfie. The competition was delivered through social media. A golden tag was attached to a student communal bin (‘the bin of the week’) in a privately rented area every week. The aim was to get students to find ‘the bin of the week’ and take a picture (selfie) of themselves recycling. To win a prize the selfie had to be uploaded to a dedicated Facebook/Twitter page with the hashtag #RubbishSelfie. A winner was then picked to win a prize!

To view competition street list and rules click here

We also ran a campaign for one week in conjunction with British Heart Foundation, where local British Heart Foundation bins were tagged. This was part of both Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester University’s student clear outs for the end of academic year.

You can view images of our recycling campaign at the following link: #RubbishSelfiePhotographs

To view pdfs of campaign materials please click on the link below:

Leaflets and Media


#Rubbish Selfie Student Recycling Leaflet

#Rubbish Selfie Student Recycling Leaflet

The campaign successfully engaged with university students living in rented accommodation to promote the use of the recycling facilities available to them. Success was seen with more respondents being aware and presenting fewer barriers to using the dry recycling services. Campaign recall was high, and the knock on effect is that students are now recycling more.

After the Golden Bin campaign over a third of students (37%) said they were now recycling more. Levels of awareness increased for both the shared dry recyclate waste streams. Awareness of paper and card recycling increased by 12% and mixed recycling (glass, cans, plastic bottles) increased by 10%.

This campaign also had the highest recall across the Up & Forward project at 87%.

The full Golden Bin student recycling campaign case study is available here




We want to take this opportunity to thank all the above business for dontating the above prizes to the Rubbish Selfie campaign.

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