Be like Michael, Recycle

Between 2016 and 2021 Prominent provided a full-time PR service for East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC). The council allocated a set budget for us to run a campaign designed to educate the community on the merits of recycling


Michael Littleport fun day2


  • To educate residents on the importance of recycling
  • To create a campaign that was visually stimulating and had longevity


Rationale, research and planning

We initially created a detailed timeline of how to bring this character to life including a competition, social media channels, the creation of a costume and merchandise. The logistics of the whole campaign relied on this timeline.

We researched term dates and looked at how our campaign could fit around these for maximum exposure and agreed that the campaign needed a “face” and came up with a mascot - recycling champion Michael Recycle.

To get more people involved we gave the opportunity to create the recycling hero to school children by running a design competition. Once the character was created, we worked alongside a theatre and drama company as well as costume designer to bring our design to life. We then put on a performance for the school children who had taken apart in the competition.

Photo 11 07 2018 10 11 53


Other activities

To help Michael Recycle reach a wider audience, we created a Twitter handle and used this to issue recycling facts and figures.

We created ‘did you know’ graphics and Michael answered questions from the public.

Once the costume was created and made Michael made appearances at markets, fairs, fetes and open days where children were queuing up to have their photograph taken with him after meeting him at school. Events Michael has attended include Littleport fun day, Ely markets and Ely Aquafest. This led to even more local press coverage as well as Michael getting to meet people face-to-face.

We capitalised on Michael’s popularity by offering the recycling team from Littleport Primary school a trip to the Council Chambers to take part in a mock election on recycling issues.

For the mock election we created a second character – Justine Binnet – to go up against Michael in a debate with a member of the Prominent team dressed head to toe in bin bags.

The election was attended by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire who broadcast it live on air.

The campaign continued to build momentum after we created wrap-around designs for all the recycling lorries in East Cambridgeshire.

This launched phase two of the campaign – proving its longevity.

Michael falls under the ‘Making East Cambs a Great Place to Live’ section of the council’s Corporate Plan and is designed to inspire and engage the whole community.


 Ely Market 280917


Measurement and evaluation 

The competition:

  • Had 232 entries
  • Engaged with 32 schools with educational materials shared with approximately 10,000 pupils

The performance:

  • Engaged with 210% of the number of children it set out to reach
  • Allowed student performers to use the project for their dissertation
  • Received praise from children - who were willing and active participants - and their headteachers
  • Meant schools acknowledged where improvements on visibility and awareness of bins for waste and recycling could be made

The campaign:

  • Saw a 226% increase in followers on twitter
  • From June 2017 to October 2018, tweets from the account generated 175,000 impressions, 177 link clicks, 512 retweets and 449 likes
  • Resulted in two feature-length segments on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and front-page coverage in the local paper
  • Resulted in 600 requests for an extra blue bin over a four-month period
  • Saw 40 tonnes of rubbish collected in a nine-day crackdown on fly-tipping

In 2018, Prominent won the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Pride awards (Anglia, Thames and Chiltern)  Education Campaign category for Be Like Michael, Recycle on behalf of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Prominent delivered a creative, innovative and durable campaign, surpassing objectives to educate, inspire and engage thousands of children and make a tangible difference to the public’s attitude towards recycling.