Building on experience in Leeds, Swansea and EdinburghHubbub will be expanding the ‘In the Loop high street recycling campaign to three further locations. The initial campaign in Leeds saw the number of people recycling in the city centre triple with the introduction of 186 new recycling bins. A further 174 recycling bins have been introduced in Swansea and Edinburgh to boost the collection of high-quality recycling material. 

Annually, the UK uses an estimated 25 billion plastic bottles, cans and coffee cups - of which almost 11 billion don’t get recycled. One reason for the low recycling rates is that almost half of UK local authorities do not have any on-street recycling infrastructure. Where they do exist, contamination rates are often so high that whole batches of materials collected are deemed unrecyclable and end up going to waste anyway. 

Hubbub’s on-the-go recycling campaigns seek to explore new ways to boost recycling rates and reduce contamination. This is achieved through a collaborative approach funded by industry and delivered in partnership with local authorities and community partners. The three schemes were carefully monitored with results openly shared so that others could learn from the findings. 

Findings from Swansea and Edinburgh revealed five key lessons: 

1) Target high footfall locations

Strategically position bins in places where people are most likely to consume and dispose of on-the-go wasteNew recycling systems in Swansea Market and Waverley Mall proved highly effective. 

2) Coffee cup recycling requires careful messaging

The message that coffee cups can be easily recycled but require a separate waste stream can be confusingThe paper is lined with plastic film to stop hot drinks from leaking and this means they are only recyclable through specialist facilities. Future campaigns will feature clearer signage on non-coffee cup bins to help tackle contamination. As we know from The Cup Fund, clear messaging is crucial in addressing this growing trend. 

3) Consistent measurement is essential

As we develop the way we deliver #InTheLoop, we are fine-tuning how we measure impact by developing more consistent waste evaluation methodology and improving the way we conduct surveys. 

4) Think long term

From the outset, our aim is always that the local council will ultimately take over the running of the campaign. It is essential that we work backwards from this aim to creata committed team of partners who all know their role.  

5) Recycling can (and should) be fun

Use of fun content, consistently delivered through social media, local advertising, in-store materials, and more, helps to animate recycling and increase engagement with the issueOh, and eye-catching art installations like this help too: 

The Swansea Wave installation by local artist Wren Miller visualises how much easily recyclable on-the-go materials go to waste every 20 seconds in the UK.

Read the full impact reports below:

Full Swansea Impact Report Welsh version

Full Edinburgh Impact Report 

Over the next twelve months, Hubbub will be refining the approach and extending #InTheLoop to areas with different demographics. Our ambition is to build a growing body of practical evidence that can be used to inform the development of local initiatives and shape wider government policy.

Want to boost recycling in your city?

Join our free webinar on November 17th, 2-3pm to find out more about #InTheLoop learnings, and ask any questions to our panel of experts. Sign up below to attend.