Waste Watchers: a uni recycling campaign

A campaign led by monsters inspires humans to dramatically reduce waste to landfill (and increase their recycling, too). This project won a national design biennial award in the Design for Good, Sustainability category.

As part of the University’s Ecoversity sustainability program, bin enclosure signage was required for the new campus Learning Hub, a very busy, bright multi-use, multi-level building. Colourful signage bin wraps of recycling and landfill ‘monsters’ were created to show a diverse audience what is suitable for waste and recycling. This installation was followed by a 'Waste Watchers' campaign to decrease waste to landfill and increase ‘uncontaminated’ recycling. The campaign included brochures (doubling as posters), large campaign stickers, product stickers, mini monsters, video screen media and web banners. The work ensured recycling volumes were greater than landfill for the first time.

Poorly labelled bin enclosures made it difficult for people to know which ‘hole’ was for recycling. Contamination rates (landfill waste mingled with recyclable material) were extremely high. New bin wrap designs and content interpreted empty square holes as open mouths of hungry limbo-dancing, waste-and-recycling-munching monsters - a yellow recycling angel and a red demon. Each monster was given an x-ray stomach to show what ‘food’ they liked and voice bubbles featuring helpful icons. The consumption theme then inspired a multi-media ‘Waste Watchers’ campaign that brought monsters to where people bought, consumed and disposed of waste or recycling.

Something that we’ve done has actually really cut through and has changed that person’s understanding of what to do when it comes to recycling for their whole life, which is really cool.
Libby Dowling, Sustainability Officer at Adelaide University


University of Adelaide

Services delivered

• Strategic consulting
• Research
• Project management
• Creative direction
• Design
• Illustration
• Photography
• Writing
• Editing
• Proofreading
• Production management