Office workers and visitors to the iconic Canary Wharf estate in east London are being encouraged to use a smartphone app to ‘simplify and incentivise’ on-the-go recycling.
Developed by London-based start-up HELPFUL, the app supports Canary Wharf Group’s ‘Breaking the Plastic Habit’ campaign, aimed at boosting the sustainable use of plastic products across the 97-acre office, retail and residential estate.
The campaign is being targeted at the estimated 112,000 workers and residents who pass through the estate every day. As well as offices and residential properties, Canary Wharf is also home to over 300 shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, and the East Wintergarden events venue.
The free-to-download app, went live this week and can be downloaded via the Apple App Store or Google play. It is geo-fenced to locate nearby recycling facilities across Canary Wharf locations.
Users can find out where to recycle items including plastic bottles or coffee cups by scanning the item with their mobile phone. Upon depositing the item in an appropriate container, they can redeem points to spend at participating retailers on the estate.
Martin Gettings, group head of sustainability at Canary Wharf Group plc, said: “This app is an incredibly useful tool for informing people about different plastics used in products, as well as highlighting where our Deposit Return Scheme, water refill stations and recycling points can be found on the estate.“
The app also works in conjunction with an ongoing trial of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles within the Canary Wharf retail district, while users can also register when they have used a reusable cup at participating coffee vendors, or one of several newly installed water-bottle refill points.
Beginning in April 2018, Canary Wharf’s DRS trial has seen around 15,000 plastic bottles collected for recycling so far. Consumers can deposit drinks bottles and cans in what has been described by Canary Wharf Group as the first publicly accessible reverse vending machine in the UK.
Located in Canada Place the automated machine uses a 360-degree scanning recognition system to identify, segregate, collect and process waste drink containers.
VIDEO: Nick Green of Veris Strategies demonstrates the app in practice
Evan Michaels, founder of the HELPFUL app, said: “Working with Canary Wharf Group has been highly insightful and proven it is possible to tackle single-use plastic waste on a large scale. We’re delighted to be contributing towards their Breaking The Plastic Habit campaign and moving the Estate one step closer to Plastic Free Commercial Centre Status.
“It is our hope that our work with Canary Wharf Group will form a template for other communities as they set an example that sustainability can be achieved by empowering people with innovative, accessible and smart technology.”
Canary Wharf’s businesses generate close to 8,000 tonnes of waste every year – which is handled through a contract with the Bedfordshire waste management firm Cawleys which began in 2015.
HELPFUL – Recycling app