Plastics recycling trial targets trigger tops

An innovative plastics trial which will seek to establish whether corporate brands can help change recycling behaviour is being rolled out in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

From December 2014 to March 2015, residents in the two areas will be able to separate and recycle the trigger tops and flip caps from their air and home care plastic bottles at specific large Tesco stores and Recycling Centres across the two counties.

A trigger top is recycled in Taunton, Somerset
A trigger top is recycled in Taunton, Somerset

Trigger tops on plastic bottles allow the products to be sprayed and are made from different types of plastic to that of the bottles, and often contain a metal spring and ball bearing – meaning they should be separated for recycling. At present, residents in the two areas are asked to separate these from bottles before they are recycled.

Courtauld 3

The trial is being coordinated by LRS consultancy on behalf of a consortium of Courtauld Commitment 3 members including Proctor and Gamble’s Febreze – a product which is sold in a bottle with a trigger cap – Tesco UK, Terracycle, the Somerset Waste Partnership and the Gloucestershire joint waste team. Courtauld 3 is a voluntary producer responsibility initiative to reduce the weight and carbon impact of food and packaging waste.

The trial is being funded by Proctor and Gamble and WRAP.

The trial is taking place to help understand whether specific collection methods work for previously non-recycled packaging.

Steve Read, managing director of the Somerset Waste Partnership, said: “For just a few months, we are asking residents to separate the trigger tops and caps from all their plastic bottles.  They can continue to put the plastic bottles in their recycling box at home, and simply take the trigger tops and flip caps with them when they visit a Recycling Centre or specific large Tesco store, where special deposit points will be available.”

Aurelie Nomdedeu, who works in global marketing for Febreze, said: “We are really pleased to support the collection and recycling of air and home care plastic packaging.  We are encouraging residents in Somerset to recycle the trigger tops from their plastic bottles, like Febreze, and give these plastics a fresh start as a new product.”


Febreze features a trigger top which is currently not accepted for recycling at the kerbside in the trial area
Febreze features a trigger top which is currently not accepted for recycling at the kerbside in the trial area

Febreze products are being used in communications materials and Proctor and Gamble’s marketing channels will be used to engage the public, like their SuperSavvyMe website – and social media channels.

Tesco is providing the opportunity to participate in the trial at 11 of its recycling bring sites at its large stores across Somerset and Gloucestershire.  Store Community Champions will be on hand to talk to customers and provide more information about how to participate.  Tesco will also be promoting the trial on its community noticeboards, at customer service desks and internally in staff restaurants.

Dee Moloney, managing director of LRS Consultancy, said: “We know non-drinks plastic bottles, like Febreze and Fairy, are often ‘forgotten’ when recycling at home.  By collaborating with large corporates and brands, we are looking to see if this will help influence consumer recycling behaviour.”

Another part of the trial incorporates the recently launched Air and Home Care Brigade – a recycling fundraising initiative from Febreze and TerraCycle – which encourages the community to work together to help raise money for local community groups, schools, or charities, by collecting trigger tops, flip caps and additional air and home care plastic packaging, like plastic air fresheners and flexible home cleaning wipes packs.

Commenting on where the trigger tops and flip caps will be recycled, a spokesman for LRS said: “There are three UK reprocessors interested in taking the materials from the trial and will produce plastic pellets and recover the metals for recycling too.  It is still being decided which is the preferred option and we can’t currently state who they include.  The decision will probably be influenced by the quantity collected during the trial.”

The results of the collection trials will be used to help inform how services could be introduced across the UK to increase collections of packaging which is difficult to recycle.

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