Bubble-blowing bins, recycling reward machines and a huge art installation have sprung up across Leeds city centre as part of new recycling initiative #LeedsByExample.

What is #LeedsByExample?

LeedsByExample is the UK’s biggest campaign to trial innovative approaches to improving on-the-go recycling.

Why is recycling on-the-go important?

While home recycling and kerbside collections have improved over the years, the rate of recycling on-the-go is still low. In the UK we get through 13 billion plastic bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and 2.5 billion coffee cups each year.

But recent research by ReCoup found that only 42% of local authorities provide on-the-go recycling facilities.

What does this mean?

Unfortunately this means a lot of on-the-go packaging, such as drink bottles and coffee cups end up in landfill. An August 2018 survey found 52% of visitors had disposed of recyclable food and drinks packaging including plastic bottles, cans, coffee cups and food packaging while out and about, and that most of this recyclable waste was put in waste bins.

What will the campaign involve?

From October 2018 there will be a whole host of new recycling facilities across Leeds City Centre, including bubble bins and recycling reward machines. These are brightly-coloured and supported by lots of other fun and engaging ways to make sure no-one misses them!

Who’s involved?

The campaign is led by environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub and recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety, as well as Leeds City Council. And Coca-Cola Great Britain is helping to support through funding.

Why is Coca-Cola Great Britain involved?

It’s part of our commitment to encourage more people to get recycling – whether that’s in their home or out and about. Coca-Cola Great Britain’s Sustainability Manager Liz Lowe explains: “Our packaging is 100% recyclable and we want it to be collected back wherever it’s disposed of so we can recycle it into new bottles and cans.

“Over the years we have supported a number of schemes for recycling on the go, including our own Recycle Zone programme back in 2011, and we’ve been delighted to be able to share some of our learnings with Hubbub as they developed #Leedsbyexample. We’re really excited to see how the pilot is received by people in Leeds, and how the learnings from this trial can be scaled to other local authorities next year.”

Can I get involved?

Absolutely! Everyone visiting Leeds City Centre can play their part to help make the initiative a success. We need everyone to:

  • Use the recycling bins for empty plastic and cans, plus coffee cups where cup bins are available
  • Download the We-Recycle app: it reads the barcodes on soft drinks packaging and directs users to the nearest recycling point for that item
  • Ensure packaging is empty before you recycle, as leftover food and drink can contaminate whole batches of recycling
  • Hang on to your recycling if you can’t spot a bin nearby: there are 30+ new recycling points across the city as well as high-street chains, such as Costa, willing to recycle plastic bottles and cups, so you’ll never be more than 5 minutes’ walk from a recycling point
  • Talk to your employers about getting involved: we’ll help them make it as easy as possible for you to recycle your rubbish
  • Follow and share the campaign on social media using #LeedsByExample

Find out more by visiting: www.leedsbyexample.co.uk.