At Coca-Cola Great Britain we’re committed to reducing the environmental impact of our bottles and cans. So instead of them ending up as rubbish, they can be recycled and transformed into something new. To support Recycle Week 25 September–1 October 2017, Linda Crichton from recycling experts WRAP talks to us about her role at the organisation, what’s planned for the week ahead and how you can make a difference.

My role at WRAP
I joined WRAP back in 2004 so I’ve been here for quite a while now – nearly as long as I have worked anywhere else in my whole career! We are a sustainability not-for-profit that works with governments, organisations, individuals and communities to help reduce waste, develop sustainable products and use resources as efficiently as possible. Our goal is to achieve a fully circular economy.

What’s the circular economy?

Why I love my job…
One of the reasons I’ve stayed at WRAP for so long is how much I enjoy my job. There’s always something new. In the past few years I’ve taken responsibility for our campaign Recycle Now, which is all about encouraging people to recycle. The peak of this campaign each year is Recycle Week, which this year is running from 25 September to 1 October 2017.

Find out more about Recycle Now

Our work with Coca-Cola Great Britain
WRAP and Coca-Cola Great Britain have worked together for many years. Coca-Cola have always been very supportive of us and our mission. We’re really grateful for the support they’ve given us, and it’s great to see their recent positive sustainability announcements – such as their commitment to increasing the recycled content in their bottles.

Find out more about Coca-Cola’s ambition for a sustainable future

But it’s also the reach that big companies like Coca-Cola have that’s important to us. It’s about using their powers for good. Coca-Cola have opened up new channels to us in terms of getting the messages out about recycling to a much, much wider audience.

Raising awareness through Recycle Week
Recycle Week has been running since we first started the Recycle Now campaign back in 2005. It aims to raise awareness around recycling and encourage people to take action. Our goal is to get recycling in the forefront of people’s minds and make it a regular, everyday activity.

Each year we have a different theme for Recycle Week. This year, it's: ‘Recycling – It’s Worth It’. We’re focusing on this because we know a lot of consumers question if it is actually worth it. You spend time and effort separating your recycling, maybe rinsing it, but what happens to it – is it really worth doing? The answer, of course, is an overriding yes!

What we’re highlighting are the real-world benefits of recycling your day-to-day items. That’s why our campaign tagline is what goes around comes around. Yes you can use something, but it can then be recycled back into either the same product or something else.

What goes around comes around: how recycling can help power loads of everyday activities

So although Recycle Week is about raising awareness, it is also about encouraging people to get recycling and make it a habit.

What’s planned for Recycle Week 2017?
Every day this week we’ll be tackling a different recyclable material, such as food, aerosol cans, plastic bottles and cardboard items.

We’ll be telling the story of how different items can be recycled into something new. Aerosol cans, for example, can be recycled into parts for mobile phones.

Biggest challenge
It can be an uphill battle trying to keep recycling on the agenda, particularly in the media… Recycling is such a positive thing with real-world benefits, it’s a shame when it is portrayed negatively.

But we always rise to a challenge and luckily, there’s a huge opportunity to do much more via social media and digitally. It allows us to take a much more targeted approach in terms of different segments of the population and make more of our budget, reaching the people that we feel can really make a difference – particularly young people who maybe haven’t got into the habit of recycling yet.

Recycle Week 2017: our goals
Last year we reached nearly two million people online with Recycle Week. It was a fantastic result for us and we’re hoping to improve on it this year.

A lot of people are confused about what they can and can't recycle locally, so on our consumer website we have a Recycling Locator. Someone can just pop in their post code and it will tell them what services they have locally, and what materials they can recycle.

In the course of a year we will have about a million hits on the Recycling Locator, but this peaks during Recycle Week, which is wonderful.

My biggest lesson
I think one of the biggest things I have learnt over the years from working at WRAP is the importance of collaborations. We are, in many respects, in quite a privileged position as we work at the interface between government and business and industry, but there is only so much that we can do. When everybody works together across the sectors, then collectively we can deliver much more impact than doing things on our own.

We can help provide resources, but we need everyone’s help to make a difference.

Linda Crichton, Head of Resource Management at WRAP
Linda Crichton is responsible for WRAP’s waste and resource management programme. This covers WRAP’s work on re-use and recycling as well as the consumer behaviour change campaign Recycle Now.

Linda joined WRAP in 2004 to set up and manage WRAP’s local authority support programme. Before that, she worked for one of the UK’s leading environmental consultancies on strategic and policy studies relating to waste and the environment, working both here in the UK and internationally.