City of London Communicates Effectively on YouTube

Promotion & Education (P&E) is important because, done well, it can secure public support and help ensure the success of Blue Box recycling programs. Here’s a closer look at a P&E strategy that the City of London has undertaken.

When the Corporation launched a YouTube Channel they began posting educational videos from various service areas. The solid waste management team seized the opportunity to further its Blue Box program goals of getting residents to fully participate (recycle more), and to lower cross contamination costs (sort it right).

Video was a cost effective way to engage the public, provide information and promote key messages.  Aside from a 10-minute, professionally developed MRF video, the team produced YouTube segments in house.  Anne Boyd, Manager of Waste Diversion Programs for the City said production of a single 2 to 3 minute video takes roughly 3 to 5 hours to create:

  • 1-2 hours of development (planning, storyboard, scripts)
  • 1 hour of video shooting
  • 1-2 hours of editing

An additional 1 to 2 hours should be anticipated for whiteboard animation.  The professional 10-minute video cost the City $10,000. Only staffing costs were incurred for the 2 to 3 minute videos as the waste diversion program team wrote the storyboards and scripts and performed the voice-overs.

Once created and posted to the City’s channel, residents were made aware of the videos in a number of ways – staff pasted links to them in their auto email signatures and the segments were promoted on the City’s website and in social media posts.  The videos are used as teaching aids especially for customer service calls and for outreach events. Staff direct residents to one or more videos that explain the rationale behind Blue Box sorting expectations.

Anne says, “the videos are very effective at doing this for some residents, compared to a report, or even a flyer”. Once residents know where to find quick and simple answers to their questions, they’re likely to return to the channel for information in the future. London residents interested in the inner workings of the system can also find videos about the MRF and what happens to the recyclables sold to end markets on the channel. The information bolsters resident interest and confidence that their efforts make a difference… not only to the environment, but also to the bottom line as a taxpayer.

Staff calculated that when recycling is not done right, it costs London taxpayers up to $250,000/year.  Investing 3 to 5 hours to produce a video is a low cost way to tackle the problem and residents have demonstrated their willingness to watch the videos, with more than 75,000 views to date for the full 10-minute MRF segment. Boyd says, “for today’s social media savvy and smart phone carrying audience, YouTube videos are an ideal complement to any P&E campaign.”  She also says that summer students were instrumental in the process, “they have the skill set and a knack for pulling the segments together quickly. Hire a student from a media program to produce your videos”.

Check out London’s YouTube videos today!

Video Name Link Length
Tour of London’s Recycling Centre 11:02
New to London’s Blue Box Program 0:15
Your Recycling – Paper or Container Blue Box? 0:14
10 Things You Should Know About Recycling Electronics in London, Ontario 2:28
20 Minute Makeover 0:22
Which Blue Box, Paper or Containers? 1:58
What Becomes of your Recyclables 2:32
Who’s on Blue Box Duty at Your House 2:03
Garbage Rant 3:33
10 Things You Should Know About Garbage and Recycling in London, Ontario 3:33

Email Anne Boyd for more information about London’s efforts.

Email Jessica Landry if you’re interested in learning more about using social media tools to promote Blue Box program diversion and cost savings messages.