A campaign in Leeds designed to boost recycling of common food and drink packaging consumed ‘on-the-go’ has inspired cities in Scotland and Wales to launch their own campaigns.
That’s according the organisers of the Leeds By Example campaign, which has seen the city “double the number” of people recycling plastic, cans and coffee cups over a six-month trial.
The model will be rolled out in Swansea and Edinburgh later this year, and will also continue for a further six months in Leeds city centre, environmental charity Hubbub announced today (10 May).
Launched in October 2018 by Hubbub and Ecosurety, Leeds By Example has brought together a combination of 25 national partners who are funding the scheme and 29 local partners including Leeds city council. Together they have installed 124 “eye-catching” recycling points in Leeds city centre, an area that had no on-the-go recycling facilities before the trial. As well as on-street bins, these include recycle reward machines, which offer money-off vouchers in return for recycling, and other recycling points in retailers and workplaces.
Results from the trial show the proportion of people disposing of plastic, cans and coffee cups in a recycling bin almost doubled from 17% to 32%. Around 600,000 coffee cups, 65,000 cans and 55,000 bottles were recycled during the six-month period.
The campaign featured brightly coloured recycling bins, bins that burp and blow bubbles when used, a giant coffee cup installation and a ‘Re-Cycler’ recycling collection bike which were positioned in various locations including universities and shopping centres. Polling showed that 82% of the public in Leeds City Centre had seen the campaign.
The extension in Leeds city centre will increase the number of on-street recycling bins to around 100, introduce more cup collections and further engage the local business community. In September, the recycling initiative will be available in Swansea and Edinburgh, building on what has been learned in Leeds to increase recycling levels in those cities, Hubbub said.
Gavin Ellis, co-founder and director, Hubbub said: “When it comes to recycling the packaging we all use, too often the onus is on local authorities to tackle this issue alone. The success of Leeds By Example shows what can be achieved when partners work together to share expertise, grab public attention and change behaviour. Lack of infrastructure and unclear messaging is a major barrier to recycling in the UK, and results from our trial have shown the importance of new recycling bins supported by a clear, concise call to action.
“We encourage other cities to get in touch about the possibility of launching in their area in 2020.”
“Collaboration and education are critical components to an effective recycling process.”James Piper
James Piper, chief executive at Ecosurety says: “Not only has the Leeds By Example campaign provided some valuable insights on how we can successfully implement on-the-go recycling infrastructure, it has shown that leading brands and retailers now recognise the vitally important role that consumers play in our recycling system. Collaboration and education are critical components to an effective recycling process.”
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council executive board member for active lifestyles and the environment said: “We are hearing great things from people across the city which is why we are very pleased to see the extension of the scheme to include even more opportunities for recycling in our city centre.”
According to the organisers, the model aims to ensure all plastic bottles, cans and coffee cups collected are reprocessed in the UK and “as locally as possible”. In Leeds, cans are being reprocessed in Cheshire, plastic bottles in Lincolnshire and cups in Cumbria. Hubbub said it will be exploring local solutions for the two new cities.
Leeds By Example and the overall ‘Recycling on the Go’ initiative is backed by Alupro, Asda, Association of Convenience Stores, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe, British Plastics Federation, Bunzl, Caffè Nero, Coca-Cola GB, Costa Coffee, Co-op, Crown Packaging, Danone, Ecosurety, Greggs, Highland Spring, Innocent, Klöckner Pentaplast (kp), Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks and Spencer, McDonald’s UK, Morrisons, PepsiCo UK, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Shell.