Leeds has been chosen as the launch city for a unique recycling project which will trial innovative ways to bin our on-the-go rubbish in an environmentally-friendly way.
Called #LeedsbyExample, the campaign is the UK’s biggest push to find new ways of improving rates of recycling on-the-go in the city centre.
From today, residents, workers and visitors will be able to use bubble-blowing bins, recycling reward machines and ‘Re-Cycler’ recycling collecting bikes to recycle plastic, cans and paper cups on streets, in offices, shopping centres, universities and transport hubs for the next six months.
Gavin Ellis, director and co-founder of charity Hubbub, which is behind the project alongside recycling scheme Ecosurety and Leeds City Council, said: “We’re interested to discover which of these will make the biggest difference and will share what we learn openly so that the most successful elements can be rolled out in Leeds and nationally. We’re also making sure that all of the recycling we collect will be processed in the UK as locally as possible.”
While recycling at home and kerbside collections have improved over the years, the rate of recycling on-the-go is still low.
A survey of visitors to Leeds city centre in August 2018 found that 52 per cent disposed of packaging including plastic bottles, cans, coffee cups and food boxes while out and about – the majority into general waste bins.
The Leeds-wide project has been backed by businesses including Asda, Caffe Nero, Coca-Cola GB, Costa Coffee, Co-op, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Marks and Spencer.
A unique element of the scheme will be the first UK trial of the We-Recycle app, which uses barcodes and labelling on soft drinks packaging and coffee cups to provide help on what and how to recycle, with a map to the nearest recycling points.
Coun Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council executive board member for environment, said “With this pilot, innovative technology and interventions will be tested across our city and we are really pleased to see many businesses signed up already to this campaign, from universities to restaurants, shops and offices. I’m encouraging as many local businesses and organisations as possible to get behind this project so that together we can make a real impact on recycling rates in Leeds city centre.”
James Piper, managing director of Ecosurety, said “We’re aware that contamination from food and drink has been a challenge in efforts to date to improve on-street recycling. The communications campaign running alongside the new recycling facilities is a critical part of #LeedsByExample and we hope this will dramatically reduce the level of contamination so that more of the waste collected can be recycled.”
**How you can take part:
Visitors to Leeds city centre are encouraged to:
Use the recycling bins for cans, coffee cups and plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.
Download the We-Recycle app to check what to recycle where.
Ensure packaging is empty before you recycle, as leftover food and drink can contaminate recycling.
Hang on to recycling if you no bin nearby – with 30+ new recycling points across the city as well as high street chains taking part, you’ll never be more than five minutes from a bin.
Follow and share the campaign on social media using #LeedsByExample .