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6 August, 2007

Targeting germs

Within the next couple of week, the City Council is due to extend doorstep recycling collection and wheelie bins to additional areas of Lancaster; mainly the particularly hilly areas omitted from earlier phases of the roll-out.
(Wheelie bin roll-out? Oh, never mind).

'Coincidentally', I received an unsolicited leaflet from a certain bleach manufacturer today, hyping explaining the additional hygiene risks of fortnightly refuse collection and oh-so-helpfully providing a money-off voucher. The interesting part is that the text is clearly targeted at first-time recipients of wheelie bins.

I'm not sure how to interpret that. One possibility is that the Council informed the chemicals company of the scheme. If there's a need to disseminate public health information, that's for the government (local or national) to do, on a non-commercial basis. I don't think it's appropriate for a council to assist a multinational corporation in gaining a commercial advantage – I really don't think it's appropriate for the council to be paid for that service.
Whatever; I'm just speculating, and perhaps the Council wouldn't have even dreamt of that.

The alternative would be for the company to have contacted the Council, perhaps as a Freedom of Information request for the roll-out schedule. When that process extends to every council in the UK (as seems logical), one gains a grudging respect for the marketers.

I'm so impressed that I'm not going to throw the leaflet away immediately, as I would ordinarily.
Don't worry, I haven't totally abandoned my principles, and by definition I won't buy that product, because the company put a leaflet through my door. Instead, I'm going to save it, and as a mark of respect for the marketers' initiative, it will be the first item into my new recycling bin.


Oh; and one other thing: the leaflet also advertises an opportunity to win a weekend in... Helsinki. No disrespect to the Finns, but I doubt the average Lancastrian would be overjoyed by that prospect.

Comments

You know, actually, I'd love to go to Helsinki for a weekend :)

I got my letter a couple of weeks ago, so I'd suggest that maybe the schedule is quite public knowledge already? I was really pleased to see that they're going to be collecting bottles at last, saving me from my weekly trudge with (a number that I'm not going to tell you) of wine bottles to the bottlebank.

Just one thought - a wheelie-bin rollout ... in the hilly areas? Is that not a scary prospect? ;)

Posted by Siobhan Curran at August 6, 2007 08:07 PM

We've finally moved to an area of Bradford with a doorstep recycling collection, however it's monthly, with the normal landfill bins being emptied weekly. And all they collect is bottles, cans and paper - no plastics, card, green waste etc like in other places (e.g. York).

Annoyingly, we filled the recycling bin last month (despite not being able to recycle that much), yet the landfill bin has only been half full. Therefore, for us at least, a fortnightly collection would have been ideal.

Posted by Neil T. at August 6, 2007 11:25 PM

You know, actually, I'd love to go to Helsinki for a weekend :)
Me too, but how representative are we of the general population? ;)

I got my letter a couple of weeks ago, so I'd suggest that maybe the schedule is quite public knowledge already?
I didn't mean to suggest it was a secret, but the marketers would need more than a single letter to determine which streets are to receive bins, which aren't and which already have them. The targeted nature of the campaign implies detailed knowledge.
Besides, how would the company have received one of the letters? I doubt they're just exploiting pure chance, such as an employee happening to live in an affected area.

Just one thought - a wheelie-bin rollout ... in the hilly areas? Is that not a scary prospect? ;)
You see my point. Think of Gerrard Street.... and that's even without the 'assistance' of the local children.

N: I think we'll have the same disposal pattern. I currently fill a black bag fortnightly, so monthly emptying of a huge wheelie bin would suit me, but I currently bring a rucksack full of cans, card, paper or (occasionally) glass to work for recycling at least weekly.

Posted by NRT at August 7, 2007 04:38 PM
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