Environmental charity Hubbub is planning to launch its behaviour change scheme for recycling ‘on-the-go’ food and drinks packaging, backed by companies such as Coca-Cola GB, Costa Coffee and McDonald’s, in Wales and Scotland this year, following success in Leeds.
The flagship scheme, called Leeds by Example and launched last summer, has seen 124 new recycling points installed across Leeds City Centre, including machines which offer reward vouchers for each piece of packaging deposited, and bins that blow bubbles when used.
This infrastructure is complemented by a smartphone app that scans on-pack barcodes to tell consumers how to recycle their packaging – complete with a digital map to help them find their nearest recycling points.
Before the scheme launched in June 2018, Hubbub investigated the proportion of Leeds residents and visitors who were regularly disposing of their plastic packaging, drinks cans and coffee cups in recycling bins while they were out and about, reaching a figure of 17%.
It now estimates that the proportion stands at 32%, after 600,000 coffee cups, 55,000 plastic bottles and 65,000 cans were collected through the scheme during its first six months of operation. These items are all being recycled within the UK, with the cans sent to Lincolnshire and the bottles and cups to Cumbria.
In light of these results, the Leeds by Example scheme will be continued for a further six months, while similar programmes called “Recycling on the Go” will be rolled out in Edinburgh and Swansea’s city centres in September.
Hubbub’s 25 national partners for the Leeds scheme have confirmed that they will also back the new local programmes. They are 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 Drinks, Klöckner Pentaplast, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks and Spencer (M&S), McDonald’s UK, Morrisons, PepsiCo UK, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Shell.
“When it comes to recycling the packaging we all use, too often the onus is on local authorities to tackle this issue alone,” Hubbub’s co-founder and director Gavin Ellis said.
“The success of Leeds By Example shows what can be achieved when partners work together to share expertise, grab public attention and change behaviour.”
After the launches in Edinburgh and Swansea, Hubbub intends to extend the Recycling on the Go scheme to other cities across the UK during 2020. Local authorities from cities keen to take part are being asked to contact the charity online.