Darlington Borough Council is taking an unusual approach to encourage residents to put their rubbish and recycling in the right bins.
The council employed the skills of Newcastle-based Media Partnership to launch its Benji Bin campaign which sees a group of household waste and recycling bins come to life in two short videos.
The videos, which will be used on the council’s website and social media, show the bins taking matters into their own hands to stop residents mixing up their recycling and household rubbish.
It is hoped the videos will help the council achieve its target of 50% of household waste being reused, recycled or composted by 2025.
Residents will be seeing a lot more of Benji and his friends in the coming months with plans for them to pop up around the town and residents given the chance to create their own Benji bin!
Benji and his friends will also be used to engage with children in schools and through community events.
We are very interested to see what impact Benji and his friends will have. We have tried lots of different messaging over the years but this is new take on an old problem.
Brian Graham, Darlington Council’s Head of Environmental Services, said: “Getting people to recycle right is a long standing problem in the town. There are Government recycling targets we need to hit but also we get paid for every tonne of sorted recycling we collect whereas we have to pay to get contaminated recycling treated. This means there is a real financial incentive, as well as the obvious environmental one, to get more people to recycle right.
“We are very interested to see what impact Benji and his friends will have. We have tried lots of different messaging over the years but this is new take on an old problem.
“We hope residents of all ages will enjoy the videos and will take Benji and his friends to their hearts.”
Katy Tate, marketing officer at Darlington Council said: “We wanted to be able to reach those who weren’t getting it right with a simple message and educate. We looked at all the areas of town and identified areas with particular problems, we designed the films with the messages targeted appropriately.
“The scripts were very carefully written so there is messaging and content for people of all ages.
“As a council we have very limited budgets so we wanted something that would have a big impact and would hopefully trend without a big outlay of money. We brought Media Partnership on board to help us make the videos and we are now looking at other ways to get Benji and his message into the community.”
Mark Bryant, Managing Director of Media Partnership said: “We’re big believers in video content that really engages with the target audience. We have no doubt this campaign will stand out, cut through the noise and educate people in the borough, in a fun and watchable format. It’s been a fun project to work on and I’m already waiting to see what happens in the next episode!”
For more information and to view the videos visit www.darlington.gov.uk/benji