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War on Waste: Inspiring a KeepCup revolution

20 June 2024 at 5:40:00 am

T30 Talk

15 min


Changing habits can be hard. So when a single episode of an Australian television show prompted a national shift in behaviour, as a behavioural researcher and science communicator, we took notice. The first (2017) and second (2018) seasons of the ABC TV program War on Waste reached audiences of 3.8 million and 3.3 million viewers, respectively. That’s one in seven Australians. It inspired action, slashing the waste footprint of hundreds of Australian organisations. So it remains a valuable example of TV driving social change, and one we can still learn from today. Non-preachy tones, relatable contexts and step-by-step how to's. Learn about exactly how the first season of ABC's War on Waste led to such widespread change in Australia from research published last year by Rachael Vorwerk and Danie Nilsson in the journal Communication Research and Practice. We hope that this research can guide others to achieve similar success in behavioural change.


Rachael Vorwerk

Relevance to conference themes

The case study of how one episode of the War on Waste prompted a national shift in behaviour is something that we can learn from in fostering evidence-driven decision making.

Excellent science communication was the reason it all happened.

The ABC series shows specific science communication approaches that bridged knowledge gaps and led to mammoth evidence-driven decision-making across the Australian public, industry and policy makers.

I think this case study really does show how science communication really is underpinned by behavioural psychology – and how understanding this link can help the Australian science communication community to elevate our professional practice.

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