In 2019, eight billion drinks containers went to waste in the UK that could have been easily recycled. That's over 30,000 in around the time it takes you to read this blog. Many of these containers were used, then disposed of on high streets in towns and cities across the country: binned, or worse littered.

As we transition towards a more circular economy that increasingly reuses and refills, there is also a need to collect and recycle the billions of materials currently being lost from the system on high streets across the UK. At present, less than half of UK local authorities have on-the-go recycling infrastructure (WRAP) and many of those that do are unable to recycle materials they collect due to prohibitive contamination rates.

Testing, measuring and scaling what works

In the last three years, we have led six recycling on-the-go campaigns across the UK and Ireland to try and find scalable solutions to the problem of on-the-go waste. We have been testing and refining our approach, measuring results and scaling what works in different contexts across the UK: you can find impact reports on the campaign pages here.

Updates from three campaigns in the last month show how this approach works in practice:

Telford: in October, we launched Telford & Wrekin #InTheLoop. We will be testing our approach and measuring results in a new context and part of the country with 25 of our colourful In The Loop bins in Telford Town Park. The six-month pilot campaign will encourage locals to use them correctly.

Wimbledon: after a successful six-month campaign, independent measurement reveals that Wimbledon #InTheLoop increased the amount of target materials being recycled from 50% to 90%. The campaign will now be taken over by Merton Council and Sustainable Merton. Find out more about our impact:

Impact infographic Full impact report

Dublin: after a successful first phase, we are scaling up and have just doubled the number of bins as part of the Dublin #CircleCity campaign so we can collect more plastic bottles and cans for recycling.

The secret to successful on-the-go recycling

Our ultimate ambition is to create a replicable template that can be adopted anywhere in the UK, which we hope to share after concluding the next round of testing. In the meantime, join us for an online webinar the 9th of December as we share what we have learnt, with tips and key principles for starting or improving recycling on-the-go wherever you are:

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In The Loop is made possible thanks to a unique coalition of funders: Bunzl, Coca-Cola, Costa, Danone, Ecosurety, Highland Spring Group, Innocent, Nestlé and Starbucks. Wimbledon #InTheLoop was funded by evian and Dublin #CircleCity is funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation.