The UK now has over 22,000 coffee shops reflecting a growing trend to eat and drink on the move. A growing amount of drinks and food containers need to be dealt with but recycling facilities haven’t kept up with this trend. A recent Recoup report described ‘On the Go’ waste systems as inadequate and called for more investment to be made. The lack of infrastructure is helping to cause more littering and is harming recycled rates.

Exploring new ways to boost ‘Recycling on the Go’ will be the next major campaign from Hubbub. We have demonstrated with the #SquareMileChallenge campaign, which has now recycled over 4 million coffee cups from the heart of London, that the public will recycle providing the infrastructure exists and the communications are compelling. Our award winning #NeatStreets anti-littering campaign demonstrated that it is possible to learn quickly making it easy for others to replicate the best bits and learn from mistakes.

Using this past experience, we will be working with one city in the UK to assess the impact of a wide range of approaches all operating under a strong unified message. The campaign will seek to answer five key questions:

1) What is driving existing behaviour?

Hubbub’s most successful interventions such as the Ballot Bin were developed by gaining insight into what is driving existing habits and behaviours. We will put teams of researchers on the ground to understand the dynamics of the street and create potential interventions based on this insight.

2) Where are the most effective places to place recycling facilities?

Our experience from the #SquareMileChallenge was that permanent recycling facilities on the high street tend to collect contaminated waste and attract litter. Facilities placed in workplaces, educational establishments, transport hubs and public buildings were better used and reduced the cost burden on local authorities.

3) What can we learn from elsewhere?

The experiment will bring together the best ideas from across the UK and from other countries. These ideas will be refined building upon our research and using the latest thinking on behaviour change techniques. Combining these elements can lead to fresh impactful ideas. Our voting bins have demonstrated the value of gamification, whilst our coffee cup display showed the power of a strong visual image.

4) How can you build a wide coalition of supporting organisations?

All sections of society need to work collaboratively to boost recycling rates. Too often responsibility is passed exclusively onto local authorities who are at the end of the chain having to deal with the waste society generates. Our trial will seek to broaden this burden ensuring all relevant parties work together to create a solution.

5) How can we refresh recycling messages?

The last few months have seen growing public concern about the impact packaging is having on the environment. Can this increased awareness be translated into positive behaviour change? What new messages might work, how can all forms of social media be best utilised and can we create a renewed sense of community pride? These will all things that we will explore.

We will also seek to increase public understanding of the entire recycling progress through a series of investigative videos launched on our YouTube channel. The first of these visited a recycling centre in Birmingham:


Already eight leading organisations have agreed to join with us on this collaboration, a city has been identified and planning for the next phase is well underway. If you want to get involved or would like to know more please get in touch.