Industry giants join forces to tackle ‘on-the-go’ recycling

#LeedsByExample campaign set to pilot new ways of improving recycling rates

The environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub and recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety are bringing together a unique partnership of big businesses in a bid to improve the recycling of food and drink packaging disposed of on-the-go.  A combination of ground-breaking technology, new recycling facilities and engaging communications activities will be piloted in Leeds City Centre for six months from September 2018, in conjunction with Leeds City Council.

The #LeedsByExample initiative is backed by Alupro, Asda, Association of Convenience Stores, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe, British Plastics Federation, Coca-Cola GB, Costa, Co-op, Crown Packaging, Danone, Highland Spring, Innocent, Klöckner Pentaplast (kp), Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, PepsiCo and Shell.  The results of the trial will be shared openly with the goal of national roll-out of the most successful elements.

The campaign addresses a growing challenge – 18 to 25 year olds are twice as likely as older generations to buy food on-the-go1, but millennials are less likely to recycle2.  The food-to-go industry is already worth £17.4bn a year and projected to increase to over £23bn by 20221.  Yet recent research by ReCoup found that only 42% of local authorities provide on-the-go recycling facilities3.

#LeedsByExample will see new recycling facilities introduced on the streets, in local offices, shopping centres, universities and transport hubs.  A unique element of the initiative will be the first UK trial of an app developed by OPRL, which will use on-pack barcodes to help people understand what and how to recycle, with a map to find their nearest recycling points.  The app is one of a range of approaches designed to engage the youthful population of Leeds – 57% of the population of the city centre are aged 16 to 244.  Leeds City Centre is a major destination for business and leisure, it also has a growing residential population and the average weekly footfall of 1.3 million provides a great opportunity to trial this innovative approach to recycling.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of Hubbub said “We know that the public want to do the right thing and recycle as much as they can, but are often confused as to how to do this or simply don’t have access to the recycling facilities they need while they’re out and about.  It’s fantastic to have the backing of this broad group of businesses to help make this possible.  There is also an important role to play for local businesses.  We’ll be providing subsidised recycling bins, communications support and advice and would love to hear from any Leeds businesses interested in getting involved.”

Cllr Rafique, Leeds City Council executive board member for environment and active lifestyles said “Improving recycling rates and changing behaviours to get people to think about what they are doing with their recyclable waste in Leeds is really important, and we are pleased to be part of this new and exciting trial.  Leeds City Centre provides a great opportunity for us to test innovative technology and campaigns to get our population recycling on the go – be that in the office or out and about.  I would encourage any of our local businesses interested in getting involved to get in touch with Hubbub to see how you can be part of this exciting project.“

James Piper, Managing Director of Ecosurety said “Whilst recycling on-the-go can seem a complex issue to tackle, we believe that simple infrastructure improvements and clear communication could make a huge difference to recycling rates and to litter.  We hope that by demonstrating there are alternative ways of collecting and dealing with recycling, we can inspire other parts of the UK to follow suit.”

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