The Provincial Health Services Agency coordinates health services within BC, to provide equitable and cost-effective health care for people throughout the province.

Waste management and recycling is an important issue across all of the public health facilities under the PHSA’s administration. In 2018 the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Department seen an opportunity to promote proper recycling etiquette on their newly installed recycling stations at Vancouver General Hospital; tri-stream receptacles with a generous 60” x 30” wide media window on the front face.

The previous campaigns had since gone through two iterations, with the most recent focussing on progress they’d made in waste diversion efforts the year prior, however including these numbers meant that the banners aged quickly and had to be updated. This lead the department to pursue a solution that didn’t depend on data, eliminating the need for replacement and instead having a solution that could be ‘evergreen’.

Alongside the requirement of providing a long-term solution, more pertinent was increasing public awareness of the impacts of waste, not only on environment health, but personal health and wellness too, subsequently provoking a broader behavioural change in how members of the public and facility staff dispose of their waste on a daily basis.

Considering the location of the recycling units and how little time a person spends interacting with one, we understood from the outset that the solution we needed to create would have to be high on impact and quick on getting the message across.

When trying to guide behavioural change, as designers we look for opportunities where we can communicate empathy, because if a campaign seeks to alter behaviour, it has to first affect people personally for them to care.

We began by asking ourselves, where does the crossover between recycling correctly and personal health occur? Should we address a typical Vancouver audience by suggesting recovered material can be made into yoga mats or ski jackets? Perhaps some clever word play might serve to educate or inspire a second thought about how these two aspects are intrinsically connected?

After a few rounds of ideation we settled on a simple idea that we called Doc’s Good Advice. “Get a good night’s sleep”, “eat green leafy vegetables” and “drink plenty of water” are snippets of advice the majority of us are familiar, and agree with. By including, “Recycle correctly” among these points, the message becomes clear that we are intrinsically linked to our natural environment. By caring for our environment, we are caring for ourselves.

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The visual execution of this message had to be as familiar as the advice, accessible as well as and engaging. With a bold colour palette across three variations, we chose to use a simple check box visual, accompanied with clean illustrations that didn’t detract from the text.

The PHSA have a terrific group of environmental advocates within the organization called the Green+ Leaders, made up of medical professionals and administrative staff, we engaged with them at several milestones throughout the project to retain a trajectory that not only lead us to the ideal solution for everyone involved, but ensured we got our facts straight where medical advice was concerned. The success of this campaign is in no small part to their enthusiastic support on these important issues.

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