Resource Use

In The Loop: Toolkit and funding may boost recycling on-the-go

Environmental charity Hubbub has published its ‘In The Loop’ toolkit – a guide for local authorities on how to roll out a recycling on-the-go campaign.

InTheLoop RecyclingIts objective for the Ecosurety-funded guide, based on learnings from several successful trials across the UK and Ireland, is to increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration. The publication of the new toolkit is also supported by funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation.

The toolkit, which was first launched at the LARAX conference in Birmingham, is informed by the grant fund #InTheLoop – described by Hubbub as the UK’s biggest collaborative approach to boost recycling on-the-go, which was first trialled in Leeds in 2018. Similar trials were subsequently carried out in Swansea, Edinburgh, Dublin, Wimbledon, Telford and Lambeth.

This trial saw the installation and testing of bright and colourful bins, made with the intention of simplifying the recycling process of empty glass, plastic bottles, cans, and in some cases coffee cups – therefore improving recycling rates.

As a result of the entire #IntheLoop project, over 500 bins have been installed and over 2.5 million plastic and glass bottles and cans were collected and recycled, Hubbub says. Now, it is hoped that the fund will develop the successes and impact of the seven #InTheLoop campaigns, and Treasure Your River, a collaboration to reduce litter along five major UK rivers.

Hubbub highlights that four new projects will be supported to either introduce or improve its recycling points using #InTheLoop toolkit in areas that include waterways, such as coastline, riverways, canals, docks or wetlands. Grant funding of £25,0000 will be made available to each successful applicant.

As a blueprint for other local authorities, the new online toolkit offers the projects’ results and learnings which presents information, tips and downloaded templates and assets.

Some of the key recommendations from Hubbub’s toolkit are:

  1. Make the bins colourful and bright, so they’re easily visible and stand out on busy streets.
  2. Consider updating your bins with clear messaging. People are confused about what to put in the bin and ‘mixed recycling’ gets mixed results. People spend less than two seconds at a bin, so be concise and give clear instructions.
  3. Don’t leave a recycling bin by itself. Place recycling bins next to general waste bins or use dual bins. Otherwise general waste will end up contaminating your recycling.
  4. Use positive, encouraging messages in your communications and avoid jargon. Repetition of these simple messages is key – we need to hear something seven times on average before our behaviour changes.
  5. Work with the local partners to increase the opportunities for people to see and hear about the new campaign, whether that’s through in-store posters, social media posts or in-person events to raise awareness of the waste issue and how to use the new bins.
  6. Measure what does and doesn’t work through on-the-ground observations, public surveys and waste composition analysis, and refine your approach accordingly.

Hubbub estimates that nine in 10 of us recycle at home compared to four in 10 who recycle on-the-go. In 2019, an estimated eight billion drinks containers failed to get recycled in the UK, implying they ended up as landfilled, incinerated or littered. Simultaneously, less than half of local authorities currently have on-street recycling systems, and 94 per cent of the British public would like to see more recycling points in public places.

Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub, said: “Our new toolkit pulls together key insights from seven trials in a variety of UK locations that have taken place over the last four years.

"Our ambition is for #InTheLoop to become a recognised and effective approach to out of home recycling that can be replicated throughout the UK and beyond. We hope sharing our results and learnings openly will be useful to local authorities looking to improve their recycling services.

“We’re delighted that additional funding from The Coca Cola Foundation will help four local authorities to get started and put the toolkit into action to help boost recycling rates and reduce marine litter.”

Stephanie Housty, Marketing and Sustainability Manager at Ecosurety said: "Four years after we joined forces with Hubbub to launch the #LeedsByExample campaign, we are thrilled to close the loop with #IntheLoop by funding this toolkit. Packed with useful tips and assets, it aims to inspire more locations to start or improve their own on-the-go recycling infrastructure."