William Eichler 04 December 2019

Colourful bins have ‘significant impact’ on recycling

Colourful bins have ‘significant impact’ on recycling image

A pilot scheme aimed at boosting recycling in Leeds city centre has seen 1.2 million coffee cups recycled in one year.

The #LeedsByExample project was launched in October 2018 by environmental charity Hubbub and Ecosurety.

They introduced 186 new recycling points and new technology in the centre in order to test the impact of new bin designs, bin locations and communications over the course of a year.

The number of people recycling in Leeds City Centre nearly tripled from 17% to 49%, whilst the number of people recycling their coffee cup quadrupled from 14% to 53% by the end of the trial.

Of the 1.2 million coffee cups recycled, over 9% were from on-street bins, 39% from managed locations such as workplaces and universities and over 50% from retailers.

The trial found that changing the colour and messaging of the bins had a ‘significant impact’ on the amount of recycling collected.

Contamination was also tackled through clear messaging resulting in contamination rates of 39% – significantly below the national average of 51%.

The scheme also demonstrated that the quality of recycling reduced during leisure periods when footfall rises due to more people in the city centre who are not ‘regulars’.

James Piper, CEO of Ecosurety, commented: ‘One year on from the launch of #LeedsByExample and we are thrilled to see the number of key insights that have been gained which will help to increase the amount of recycling on-the-go across the UK.

‘This pioneering project was a first for cross-industry collaboration and it has certainly delivered results which will go on to reap benefits well into the future.’

Cllr Al Garthwaite, deputy executive member for environment and active lifestyles said: ‘The huge success of this groundbreaking initiative shows that not only is Leeds city centre growing and thriving, but that busy Leeds people are really keen to help the city respond to the climate emergency by doing their bit.

‘The council will continue to explore new ways to help people recycle more items more easily, alongside promoting reuse and ways to reduce excess waste.’

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