On-street recycling launched for the first time in Edinburgh

On street recycling bin for In the Loop campaign

Bubble-blowing bins and an eye-catching art installation have appeared in Edinburgh city centre today as part of a new on-street recycling campaign.

  • #InTheLoop - UK’s biggest collaborative approach to recycling on-the-go - arrives in Scotland
  • Eye-catching Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop bins and an art installation aim to educate residents and visitors on how to recycle while out and about  

Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop is a five-month trial by the Council and environmental charity Hubbub which will allow people passing through the city centre to recycle plastic bottles, cans and coffee cups on the street, for the first time.

Whilst recycling at home and kerbside collections have improved over the years, the rate of recycling on-the-go is still low. In the UK around 5.5 billion plastic bottles, 2.7 billion drinks cans and 2.5 billion coffee cups get thrown away every year! Yet, recent research by ReCoup found that only 42% of local authorities provide on-the-go recycling facilities1

Two Scotland-based artists Sam Cornwell and Cody Lukas2 have created an innovative geometric installation, which will display plastic bottles, drinks cans and coffee cups to demonstrate the value of these materials. It will use solar panels to glow up at night to captivate members of the public and further raise awareness of the issue. The artwork will be located in St Andrew Square from 21st October until early 2020.  

Our Edinburgh #InTheLoop is being supported by local partners including The City of Edinburgh Council, Changeworks, Waverley Mall, Essential Edinburgh BID and Scotwaste.

The initiative – which is the UK’s biggest collaborative approach to boost recycling on-the-go – is being backed by Starbucks, Ecosurety, Asda, Bunzl, Caffè Nero, Coca-Cola GB, Costa Coffee, Danone (owners of the evian and Volvic brands), Highland Spring Group, Innocent Drinks, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret a Manger and Shell.

Hubbub launched its inaugural on-the-go recycling scheme #LeedsByExample in 2018, which saw on-the-go recycling rates in Leeds increase from 17% to 32% in just six months. The campaign has sparked national interest from cities across the UK, with the scheme now being rolled out in Swansea and Edinburgh. 

Alex Robinson from Hubbub said: 

For the first time, the people of Edinburgh will be able to recycle whilst on the move. The impact our pilot campaign had on the city of Leeds far surpassed our expectations and with the support of the local community, we hope Edinburgh will do the same.

We’re urging people working, living or visiting Edinburgh New Town to use the new-look bins and help us ensure that as much valuable packaging is recycled as possible. We also look forward to launching coffee cup recycling facilities in the city in the near future.

Transport and Environment Convenor for The City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said:

We’re delighted to be collaborating with Hubbub on this project, which will help us to explore ways of encouraging recycling on the go and plan for the future impact of the Deposit Return Scheme. 

As a Council we are committed to increasing recycling rates amongst residents and visitors, and as we’ve seen from previous work with Hubbub, their innovative approach to behaviour change has made a real impact on the public.

Sam Mills, Changeworks Head of Projects, said:

We’re excited to be working with Hubbub to deliver this campaign, combining their creativity and our 30 years’ experience in delivering local solutions for low carbon living across Scotland. 

Disposing of packaging on the go can be really challenging. These new recycling bins will make this much easier across the city centre, and we’re excited to see just how much waste we can keep from being thrown away.

To maximise the amount we can recycle, we ask that the public use the bins as follows:

  • Cups from hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) and cold drinks (ie, McDonald’s paper cups) can be recycled in the orange cup bins. These need to be empty of any liquid
  • Lids, stirrers and straws should go in the general waste bin
  • Compostable cups cannot be recycled and should go in the general waste bin
  • Plastic bottles and cans should be put in the yellow bins

For more information, visit: http://www.ouredinburghintheloop.co.uk  or contact [email protected]

Published: October 22nd 2019