Be Trendy, Be Green, Recycle
by Lara Kapovic, Nadezhda Dimitrova and Zdravko Zdravkov
During the Spring 2021 semester, just like last year, students taking Social Policy and Politics in the EU course worked in groups to socially-oriented campaigns. In their presentations and campaign descriptions they were to outline the rationale for your campaign; measures / actions that the campaign will involve; its target audience as well as its projected outcomes. On the course’s website, we will present some of their ideas in the form of separate entries.
Romania places third to last in the EU scores for municipal waste recycling. A survey by the European Commission found that 7-8% of all Romanian citizens do not find recycling important, which places them fourth to last in the scores of all EU countries. The country also has the lowest land-filling costs in all of the EU, which gives municipalities an incentive for not advancing recycling initiatives. However, if the people organized and demanded infrastructure for recycling, the municipalities would be forced to at least consider recycling initiatives. Also, we can tell people that the inability of Romania to comply with EU norms might result in significant sanctions which will weigh on the economy in an already COVID-ridden world.
The Romanian population has a very clear reason to demand recycling infrastructure from their government. A study determined that 19% of all deaths in Romania are related to environmental issues in the country. This, again, places Romania at the very top of countries with the highest number of environment-related deaths in the EU. The main reasons were determined as the main contributors to this, one of them being Responsible Consumption and Production – number 12 on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the Romanian population has a very direct incentive to want to recycle. The proactivity of the Romanian citizens’ is so bad in this aspect, that the biggest recycling plant in Romania is importing 50% of its recycled materials.
We have created this campaign in order to inform the population on the consequences of environmental negligence and urge them to push the government and themselves towards a more sustainable future. We will try to achieve this goal through a variety of different means targeting both the population and the municipalities.
For one, 64% of the Romanian population uses YouTube. So, we thought it would be a good idea if we were to create a short informative video, which we could also pay to have made into an ad, with playful animations and a concise and clear message, which we could be used to reach the younger generations. Furthermore, we plan to deploy volunteers to hand out flyers and inform people on the risks, consequences and current results of the failure to recycle.
We also thought that we can approach municipalities and negotiate with them to help organize the installation and subsequent collection of recycling bins. For example, we could offer to place recycling bins in the liveliest squares in the cities and then collect them every 1-2 days and deliver them to recycling plants until the municipalities can organize the logistics themselves. We realize that this is a miniscule contribution to the huge problem, but it is significant and symbolic enough to perhaps inspire the population or show the municipality that there is a need for action.
Our main target group is the younger generation, which has grown up in the age of the Internet and is therefore presumably more aware of the environmental consequences of unsustainable development. We hope to capture both middle school students and university students.
It is difficult to predict any quantitative results from the campaign but goals include a minimum exposure of the campaign of 20 000 people, seeing as how the Youtube video and ad will have a tremendous outreach if we manage to convince Youtube to run it as an ad, which isn’t particularly difficult. The flyers will also reach a significant amount of people since they are cheap and easily distributed.