Energy Saving Trust Waste Pilot Evaluation


The Energy Saving Trust is one of the UK’s leading organisations set up to address the damaging effects of climate change. It provides free, impartial advice and information service that helps people across the UK to find the best ways to save energy, conserve water and reduce waste. M·E·L Research was commissioned to provide an in depth understanding of the engagement of consumers with Waste Advice provided by the Energy Saving Trust. The main outputs were to quantify the impact of advice provided by the Energy Saving Trust in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions savings and commitment to recycling. The evaluation covered three main areas by which advice is provided: 

  • Avoiding food waste 
  • Home compositing 
  • Recycling


The research included two consultations with the Energy Saving Trust advisors through a telephone workshop discussion that helped the design of a questionnaire for a customer’s consultation and also the completion of evaluation feedback forms. Our in-house call centre completed telephone interviews with customers in Northern Ireland, the North East, Wales and London. In addition a more in-depth piece of exploratory consumer research, done by telephone following up specific respondents was completed to explore impacts and barriers in greater depth.


The interventions had a small but detectable impact on waste related behaviour. The greatest added value appeared to be in relation to food waste advice - partly because of the comparatively high carbon benefit arising from food waste behaviour change, and partly because it is a newer and less familiar message. The customer audience was in the higher ‘bracket’ of good waste management commitment. This group thinks it is doing all it can, but is relatively receptive to doing more if it can be shown there is more it can do. There was a need to put a tighter focus to the waste advice messages, better exploiting the link with the ‘saving’ keyword in