The impact of Blue Planet II has stirred the nation’s conscience
and has made packaging and recycling front page news. One of the biggest
challenges is how to recycle packaging and containers thrown away on the High
Street. We are a nation increasingly eating and drinking on the move but
recycling infrastructure has not kept pace with this.
In response, Hubbub has brought together 25 major companies to
invest in a trial campaign in Leeds to boost ‘on the go’ recycling rates.
#LeedsByExample has been running for four months with the support of local
organisations such as Forge Recycling, Leeds City Council and Zero Waste Leeds.
Recently 159,000 coffee cups were sent from Leeds to James
Cropper’s paper mill in Kendal, a significant step in the papermaker’s
ambition to help recycle some of the estimated three billion
take-away cups that are currently thrown away in the UK each
year. Through its unique CupCycling™ technology - the world’s
first process dedicated to upcycling disposable coffee cups – James
Cropper has the capacity to upcycle 500 million used coffee cups into premium
papers and packaging.
Here are four things we have learned to-date:
COMMUNICATION APPROACH IS WORKING
The campaign results so far are positive. Cup recycling is
increasing, the level of contamination is manageable and there is growing
positive awareness about the scheme.
To-date we have placed large-scale displays in Trinity shopping
centre, run a digital advertising campaign and held an ‘influencers event’ to
reach 18-25 year olds via social media.
2) WE NEED
BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CUP RECYCLING
There are sufficient recycling facilities in the UK to recycle
all the paper cups we use. We now need to build an infrastructure to
effectively collect cups. Together with
Forge Recycling we have introduced a whole new network of recycling bins solely
for coffee cups across Leeds city centre, making it easier than ever for the
public to recycle their cup and as a result we’ve already collected 200,000
cups since mid-October.
A key message is what can be created from recycling coffee cups
– for example sustainable stationery and retail packaging - and we’re looking
to add bespoke products for Leeds.
3) THERE’S A
ROLE FOR SOME CUP BINS ON STREET
Previous Hubbub campaigns such as #1MoreShot and
#SquareMileChallenge demonstrated that managed spaces are the ideal place for
collecting cups while street bins have been more problematic due to
We were cautious about introducing on street cup bins in Leeds.
However, we’ve found that they can be very effective particularly in high
footfall locations such as outside the train station.
EXPERIMENTATION, MONITORING AND REACTING QUICKLY IS CRUCIAL
The aim has been to learn fast and learn cheap. For example
on-street cup bins which stacked cups had to be removed within a week as people
didn’t stack or separate their cups, causing overflowing bins and litter.
Contamination is still an issue in some bins and we will
continue to test different types of bins and messages to discover what works
best. An independent agency is monitoring the impact of activities and we will
share full results in April.
The next step is for more cities to get involved to ensure that
more cups make their way to companies like James Cropper to be recycled.