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Working Together To Deliver Consumer Behaviour Change: Can the Water and Waste Sectors Collaborate?

October 2019, Manchester

Presentations at the recent European Waste Water Management conference highlighted a range of issues that could be related to consumer flush and throw behaviours – particularly the treatment of sewers as ‘liquid dustbins’. It doesn’t help that manufacturers supply products that are not intended to be flushed, but which are physically similar to those that can be.

Southern Water have knocked on tens of thousands of doors to explain issues with flushing the wrong thing. In AMP7, customers will be given the power to comment on water utility’s entire customer engagement strategy – which means water utilities need to be proactive across the whole range of water-related strategies.  If customer satisfaction is low overall, penalties will ensue.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly baffled by recycling of solid wastes (which polymer can be accepted, and what about food containers?),  but local authority budgets for communication campaigns to address such confusion are virtually non-existent – and the UK’s recycling rate is stagnating.

Given the similar,  consumer-focussed issues in both wastewater and waste management, there must be opportunity to bring together relevant professionals from both sectors to share best practise and (ideally) to start collaborating on door-knocking and other activities.

Key themes:

  • Issues associated with inappropriate consumer behaviours (e.g. impacts on recyclate quality, sewer blockages)
  • Current best practice in consumer engagement from a water company perspective
  • Current best practice in consumer engagement from a waste management company perspective
  • Are there incentives or opportunities for cross-sector collaboration?

If you are interested in speaking at this event please email a 150-word abstract to Sarah –

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