Push for on-the-go recycling in Leeds 

Hubbub campaign logo #LeedsByExample

As part of the on-the-go recycling campaign #LeedsByExample, bubble-blowing bins, recycling reward machines, an art installation and recycling collection bikes will appear across Leeds today. 

The campaign is the collaborative work of charity Hubbub and compliance scheme Ecosurety, with the hope that this push will trial innovative ways to improve on-the-go recycling rates.  


In the UK, 13 billion plastic bottles, 9 billion drink cans and 2.5 billion coffee cups are used annually, with research by RECOUP showing that only 42% of local authorities provide on-the-go recycling facilities.  

A survey of visitors to Leeds city centre was conducted in August 2018 and found that 52% of participants had disposed of recyclable food and drinks packaging while walking about and a majority of this recyclable waste was put in the general waste bin.  

Both Hubbub and Ecosurety have brought together big businesses and local firms to support #LeedsByExample, with the campaign piloting new recycling facilities for plastic, cans and paper cups on the streets, local offices, shopping centres, universities and transport hubs for six months from October 2018.  

Businesses that have backed it include: Alupro, Asda, Association of Convenience Stores, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe, British Plastics Federation, Bunzl, Caffè Nero, Coca-Cola GB, Costa Coffee, Co-op, Crown Packaging, Danone, Ecosurety, Highland Spring, Innocent, Klöckner Pentaplast (kp), Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks and Spencer, McDonald’s, Morrisons, PepsiCo UK, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Shell. 

The initiative will launch a communications campaign including adverts, street signs and messages such as ‘empty plastic and cans, nowt else’ to help improve the quality of the recycling collected. 

Another part of the initiative will be a trial of the We-Recycle app developed by OPRL, which uses barcodes and labelling on soft drinks packaging and coffee cups to provide clear help for what and how to recycle, with a map to find their nearest recycling point.  

The results of the trial will be shared with the goal of a national roll-out of the most successful elements. 

Hubbub director and co-founder Gavin Ellis said: “The huge range of eye-catching recycling bins and communications throughout Leeds city centre will make it really easy for residents, workers and visitors to spot their nearest recycling point. 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.” 

Ecosurety managing director James Piper 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.” 

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