On-the-go recycling has proved a sticking point in attempts to improve the UK’s recycling rate, with many busy consumer areas like shopping centres – where food and drink packaging is most often bought and disposed of – lacking the infrastructure to separately collect different items. A 2017 report by plastics recycling charity RECOUP surveyed nearly 100 UK local authorities and found that only 42 per cent provided on-the-go collection bins, meaning a lot of waste that could be recycled ends up sent to landfill or incineration.
The problem was noted by packaging company DS Smith back in March, when it announced it had the capability to recycle all of the UK’s coffee cup waste – a staggering 2.5 billion cups – with the company citing insufficient collection infrasdtructure as the chief barrier to fulfilling this capability, calling on the government to invest more in such facilities.
Now, #LeedsByExample is seeking to address the issue by introducing a range of different recycling options to consumer hubs around Leeds city centre, in partnership with Leeds City Council. The six-month campaign, beginning in September 2018, will build on previous work by Hubbub to tackle on-the-go recycling – including its Neat Streets litter project, which saw the charity develop tailored litter-busting campaigns in Westminster, Sutton, Manchester and Edinburgh. From the Neat Streets campaign came the Ballot Bin, a quirky communications tool-cum-ashtray designed to reduce smoking waste by asking people to vote with their cigarette butt.
In 2017, Hubbub also ran a project to recycle single-use coffee cups in London’s busy Square Mile, which involved dedicated coffee cup bins being placed around the area for collection and processing by Simply Cups, a specialist recycling company. The project has since resulted in more than five million cups being sent for recycling.
The Ballot Bin asks smokers to vote with their butts
Gavin Ellis, Hubbub’s Director and Co-Founder, told Resource: “We will be building on everything we have learned from previous campaigns such as Neat Streets, Ballot Bins and in particularly the Square Mile Challenge. In many ways what we will trial in Leeds is an extension of the Square Mile Challenge to include all food and drinks packaging, not just coffee cups – Leeds city centre also happens to be a square mile in size.