Preventing waste by buying nothing new

The Brief

It’s become an established norm: people often feel they are ‘doing their bit’ for the environment by recycling. However, the effectiveness  of recycling has been overstated. Reducing the amount we consume and reusing what we already own in many cases  have greater environmental benefits.

Keep Britain Tidy’s inaugural Buy Nothing New Month  (BNNM) campaign encouraged consumers to take up the challenge to buy nothing new for the whole month of January 2023.

The campaign aimed to promote the many benefits of buying less and to inspire audiences to try alternatives to buying new, including reusing and repairing items, borrowing and renting, and buying second hand, where necessary.

The campaign also engaged policymakers to make the case for waste prevention to reduce carbon emissions.




Insights and Approach

We designed a campaign strategy based on fascinating focus group data that Keep Britain Tidy provided around people’s habits of buying new or second-hand, reusing, repairing and recycling.

Given it was the first year of the consumer campaign, we sought to engage an already captive audience, so we targeted 18–44-year-olds who already express an interest in sustainability in some way.

To access these audiences and grab attention from all angles, we planned a fully integrated campaign across several channels: organic and paid social media; influencer marketing; stakeholder engagement; PR.

We developed a topical narrative with references to Christmas clutter and overspending to give context to the campaign timing and help boost engagement. Thematic message provided variety for each week of the campaign.

The Outcome

Initial reactions to BNNM show that those who took part embraced the concept with 65% buying nothing new during the month and a further 31% buying less than they usually would. 80% reported that they would think more about what they buy in the future because of the campaign. 

The paid social media campaign generated almost 4 million impressions and 27,000 clicks, with a CTR of 3.11%, well above the industry average of 0.9%.

The trade and consumer media campaign delivered opportunities to see/hear of 2.6 million. Trade coverage included The Sunday Telegraph exclusive and two by-lines for Allison Ogden-Newton OBE in key targets: First and LocalGov.




participants bought nothing new


participants will think more about their purchases


organic impressions


impressions from influencers



increase in Facebook engagement



opportunities to see/hear